The annual round of GCSE and A level education exam results and criticism is amongst us. We have seen the usual clutch of criticism of the improved results with claims that much has to do with easier exams than improved intelligence – unless you are the child or teacher involved. And claims from universities reveal that the subject mix is all wrong.
Every year children, teachers and schools await the results with trepidation. The recognition of exam passes and attainment targets are negated by simultaneous claims the exams are being made easier to pass. An annual battle of quality versus quantity. Our children and their prospective employers meet with a stark dilemma. The general range and quality of education falls short of the needs of universities and industry. Exams should not be made harder per se but need to reflect a greater spread of education and relevance to the employment market.
The “teach to test” is demeaning of the teaching resources and reflects a system that is imploding. The concentration towards ticking boxes and hitting targets has overshadowed the changing needs of industry, opportunities and demands of a now a global market. Targets are short term measures that can be manipulated by skilled players. We cannot relax thinking the number of A level grades passes actually reflect actual attainment and the current needs of industry and universities. We have slipped down in our international ranking. Many other countries have now surpassed our educational system once heralded as one of the best in the world. Our educational systems and curriculum need a radical overhaul. At the moment the manipulated exam grades give the impression we have won the battle but in reality we are clearly losing the educational war.