Teaching to the Test: not just for Americans any more
Sound familiar? Our cousins Across the Pond have high-stakes test woes of their own:
Schools are paying more than £200 for information to help pupils cheat the exam system, it is claimed.
They are sending teachers on courses led by examiners where they are given tips to beat GCSEs and A-levels.
Teachers are encouraged to use tricks, such as inflating weak pupils' coursework grades. The claims are made in a book which suggests a culture of cheating and "teaching to the test" in the education system. Some schools allow children to retake exams until they pass.
The claims risk undermining the year-on-year rise in GCSE and A-level results achieved under Labour. Since 1997, the number of children with at least five good GCSEs has increased from 45 to 59 per cent, while the A-level pass rate has risen from 87 to 96 per cent. Last August's A-level increase was the 24th successive annual rise.
Last night, teachers' leaders said schools were being driven to extreme lengths to inflate their position on government league tables and satisfy the demands of Ofsted, the education watchdog. Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "We have been living in a world of high-stakes exams since the early 90s and every year it gets worse and worse. It is a pressure schools should not be put under because it creates an atmosphere where teachers are encouraged to teach to the test rather than educating children."
Well, it was only a matter of time.
Labels: high-stakes testing