The Observer is claiming an unpublished Ofqual report suggests more than two-thirds of teachers have considered the performance of their school in league tables when choosing which subjects to offer pupils…
Four out of five have focused their efforts on borderline “C” students because the numbers of pupils gaining grades A-C are the key to success in such tables. And nearly two-thirds have sought out “easier” exam boards to achieve success, the report finds.
The findings are contained in a 47-page document prompted by evidence seen by Ofqual suggesting that teachers and schools were playing the system, and in some instances cheating to attain professional success…
Among the findings, consultants hired by Ofqual reported that 25% (133 respondents) said they had experience of pupils being removed from the roll to boost results. Similarly, 21% cited experience of “schools finding ways to pick and choose the pupils they take in”.
Nearly half (49%) experienced student qualification choices being steered towards those they will perform well in, rather than those they enjoy or those that would aid future employment.
The report quoted one teacher as saying: “Too much is done because heads are scared into meeting targets so staff are bullied into going above and beyond and at times do ‘unacceptable’ things because of the pressure of no excuses.
“Children are bullied, bribed and humiliated to meet targets … Offered money, picked up out of their house on a Saturday to come to school…”
I think there is a difference between playing the system and cheating, but it’s hard to see how any of this is helping our children.
The obvious implication is that it is the system that is flawed.
But more broadly, how do you overcome the desire to improve schools (and let’s be clear, some are much better than others) without creating assessment systems that result not in genuinely improved learning but instead in ways of gaming them to get the desired results?
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