Top pupils 'dumb down' to get A* grades

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Top pupils 'dumb down' to get A* grades

Postby AceTutors123 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:01 am

Top pupils 'dumb down' to get A* grades, say heads

The exam system in England is suffering from "deterioration and decay", says a damning report from leading independent school head teachers.

Head teachers attacked huge variations in results and poor marking.

The most able pupils now have to "dumb down" their answers to get A* grades, said the leaders of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Christopher Ray, the independent schools group's chairman, said the exam system was in a "truly shocking" state.

This summer has seen angry protests from head teachers over what they claimed were unfair changes to GCSE grade boundaries.

And the HMC - representing 250 of some of the most famous independent schools - has launched its own broadside against the exams system, in a report that says there are deep-rooted problems with unreliable, unfair and inaccurate marking.

'Building on sand'
The concerns of the HMC have now been submitted in a letter to Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The head teachers warned the education secretary that proposed changes to the structure of exams, such as introducing the English Baccalaureate (EBC), would be "building on sand" unless the underpinning quality of marking was improved.

Mr Ray, who is the high master of Manchester Grammar School, said the "problems go far deeper than this year's disastrous mishandling of the English language GCSE grades".

William Richardson, the HMC's general secretary, also criticised an over-rigid "tick box" approach for marking, where pupils had to be drilled to use the required "buzz words".

He said this could mean that the brightest pupils had to be taught to write answers that were below their own ability level to get the highest grades.

"Heads will say our most able pupils who don't use the buzz words don't get the top grades - but they produce the most novel and insightful answers. The markers can't accommodate the originality of their answers.

"And the most depressing thing for a teacher with a high calibre of pupil is to coach the most able pupils on dumbing down their answers to get an A*," he said.

Mr Richardson said that schools should be able to expect fair and accurate results for their pupils.

But he said evidence gathered by HMC schools showed that exam results, with similar pupils and teaching, could vary widely between different years - without anyone being able to give a plausible explanation for the differences.

"Tens of thousands of pupils across England are receiving questionable grades each year - it's not just this year."
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Full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19731301
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Re: Top pupils 'dumb down' to get A* grades

Postby AceTutors123 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 10:03 am

I wonder why Chenonceau was scored only 28/40 on a composition that she submitted to a primary school teacher!

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Re: Top pupils 'dumb down' to get A* grades

Postby AceTutors123 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:35 am

Fortunately those who have learnt Algebra can use it in place of the sometimes cumbersome Model method for PSLE Maths. Trouble is, since it is accepted at the actual PSLE, why wouldn't the teachers accept the model method in regular classes? This will really restrict its use to only the brightest students who are able to switch niftily between the Model and Algebra methods in a short 2-3mths before PSLE.

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Re: Top pupils 'dumb down' to get A* grades

Postby Laura02 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:37 am

Thank for posting this interesting article.
So "dumbing down" doesn't just occur in Singapore ....

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Re: Top pupils 'dumb down' to get A* grades

Postby AceTutors123 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:43 am

Cheers Laura =)

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