GCSEs: ‘We have to cheat, nanny and fiddle’, teachers say

Teachers have admitted “fiddling” exam grades and cheating to keep up with rivals they distrust, a report by Ofqual claims, as one reveals: “We have to cheat because other schools will be doing so.” This is from the Telegraph…

Teachers’ unions have today condemned the findings of an Ofqual report into this year’s GCSE exam result fiasco as an“insult” and “diversion”, which “flies in the face of the evidence”.

But interviews conducted and collated by the exam watchdog appear to show teachers, under “strange and unhealthy pressures” to boost students’ grades and ensure they succeed, admitting to asking children to rewrite work and cheating on coursework assessments.

The report had found evidence of teachers over-marking their students’ work, with the pressure of getting pupils to at least a grade C forcing them to compromise their professional principles.

The anonymous confessions, published in Ofqual’s official report, condemn the “woolly, unreliable, loose assessment system” and bemoan a mark scheme “so vague you can drive a coach and horses through it.”

One teacher accused the system of controlled assessment, where pupils are supposed to complete work at school under strict conditions, of “creating suspicion and distrust between schools”.

Another claimed he had been instructed to cheat in order to keep up with other schools and was encouraged to “fiddle” results, while a third suggested pupils must be “nannied through every stage”.

The evidence was compiled by Ofqual from interviews with more than 100 participating schools, and extracts taken from the TES web forum for teachers.

A separate report this week showed how some 130 schools were penalised for cheating, with a further 60 teachers penalised for ‘malpractice’.

In their own words: how teachers were pressured into bending the system

I’ve just read my school e-mail to find the instructions for getting the CA [controlled assesssment] folders together, and including the instruction ‘All folders must be at or above target grade.’ This is being done by either getting kids to rewrite CAs after they’ve been marked, or by fiddling the Speaking and Listening grades to make up for lost marks on the written work. When I’ve dared to suggest that the CAs should be done in exam conditions and that lots of schools are doing that, I’m told that that is rubbish, that CAs are really coursework, and that we have to cheat because other schools will be doing so, and we cannot afford to let our results slip at all.

The drive to achieve targets is definitely corrupting and I loathe being made to feel that I am not doing right by my students because I am not making them stay behind after school week after week to rewrite the bloody things.

The school felt that proper regulation of CA was well-nigh impossible and that controlled conditions were being interpreted very differently in different schools. This was creating suspicion and distrust between schools.

I feel I am being made to cheat. I’ve taught the kids and then let them do the tasks – we have to do them in the classrooms, except for those who need access arrangements, who are under the beady eye of external invigilators. I taught my kids, gave them the opportunity to make notes, and then did the damned things like an exam. Result? Lots of them underperformed against their targets. Not good enough. This work, I am told, is really coursework, and has to be at target grade, or they will not reach their targets at the end of the course. Others in the department have done marked drafts. I’m now feeling pressured to get some of mine to redo various pieces. I’ve voiced my objections, but have been told that the long and the short of it is that they have to be nannied through at every stage – there is disbelief when I say that some schools are doing the CAs as exams. I resent the implication that I am failing my kids, when actually what they produce is probably more accurate as an indication of their abilities than their target grades are. The sooner this nonsense is stopped and we go back to 100 per cent exams, the better.

More at:  Ofqual: ‘We have to cheat, nanny and fiddle’, teachers say

Exams regulator Ofqual accused of losing control of examination system by furious headteachers
GCSE English: How is it actually marked?
Categories: Secondary.

Let us know what you think...