The Guardian is reporting claims from a TV programme to be broadcast today (Monday) that British education is experiencing an epidemic of what it calls trickery and cheating…
An investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches, to be screened on Monday night, describes how shady practices and in some cases outright fraud are woven into the fabric of UK education as the use of exam results, league tables and performance indicators increases the pressure on students, teachers and institutions to succeed.
…the programme exposed instances of secondary schools exploiting loopholes in regulations to avoid some pupils sitting examinations, so that their results would not show up in the school’s crucial performance tables…
The programme highlighted several cases in which teachers had changed pupil assessments or coursework to artificially boost a school’s performance, in some cases under direct orders from the school’s leadership.
One teacher told the programme: “There was one girl, her coursework had no punctuation in it at all. In the end, I just had to go through it myself and put in the full stops and commas and the capital letters because she just couldn’t get it … We made sure that every student had coursework that was C and above.”
In one secondary school judged outstanding by Ofsted, a teacher reported that pupils were ordered to copy coursework directly out of a textbook by one of the most senior members of staff.
“The heads of departments feel under huge pressure and teachers at the bottom end of the whole hierarchy feel that they have to perform, they have to do it,” Birendra Singh, a former Ofsted inspector, told the programme…
You can see the programme – Exams: Cheating the system? – at 8pm this evening on Channel 4
None of these issues is new this site but it will be interesting to see what the programme adds to the debate.
My personal opinion on this is that cheating is plain wrong and penalises honest staff and students. It cannot ever be justified and I feel there are some within the system who would rather turn a blind eye to it than call it out for what it is.
However, at the same time there is also something very wrong when so many feel under such pressure that they are driven to undertake these measures. That can’t be right or good for anyone either.
It is also wrong if increasing numbers are feeling under pressure to cheat because they believe if they don’t others will be and their students will be at a disadvantage. This is just going to create a vicious circle of increasing levels of dishonesty.
So how do we sort this out? Please let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below or via Twitter…
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