Exclusive: Social media ‘backlashes’ have led to predictable exams, assessment expert claims

TES is reporting that Robert Coe has commented that ‘low-level’ thinking in exams is rewarded far too much in examinations.

Fear of a social media backlash is preventing exam boards from setting harder questions, and leading to papers that are too easy and predictable, a prominent assessment expert has claimed.

Robert Coe, from Durham University, believes that there is currently too much emphasis on “accessibility” in exams and not enough on “high expectations” and “challenge”.

“Too much low-level thinking, what I am calling ‘predictable regurgitation’, is rewarded in exams, and that’s such a dysfunctional and distorting thing to be contending with,” the academic, who advises exams regulator Ofqual on standards, said.

Professor Coe argues that a key reason for today’s “overly predictable exams” is “the sense of public backlash that we’ll have if we ever write an interesting exam paper…you ain’t half going to get slated on social media”.

“Exam boards will be very sensitive to this and Ofqual are very sensitive,” he added. “The students will be complaining [online] straight away – probably not before the exam’s finished but not many minutes after.”

More at: Exclusive: Social media ‘backlashes’ have led to predictable exams, assessment expert claims

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  1. wasateacher

    Of course the testing regime is going to encourage low level thinking – it is cheaper to mark the exams.  The profit motive permeates all levels of education.

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