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Do teachers really manipulate test results?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by drofnats, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/teachers-manipulate-test-results
    After reading the latest anti-teacher claptrap I figured i'd like to air a question.
    When are teachers finally going to get together and say enough is enough?
    I teach Maths KS3/4 and as public exams are marked externally, fail to see how it possible to 'manipulate' test results. We have no coursework element in maths.
    Firstly we are criticised for teaching how to pass exams not solve problems, then of not giving every child every chance. Now the extra effort we put in is seen as 'cheating'
    Could someone please explain to me exactly where the line is drawn? Just when does meeting the professional requirement of every child matters compromise a teacher and make them a cheat?
    It is my understanding that if to many get higher marks then then grades are adjusted down... to many get lower marks they are adjusted up. Since this is managed externally just how can any teacher have any 'manipulative' influence?
    If the writer of this article is focusing only on the subjects with a coursework element then surely the provokative headline should state that; Generallities like this only serve to further dilute the student and public perception of the professional in the classroom.
     
  2. http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/teachers-manipulate-test-results
    After reading the latest anti-teacher claptrap I figured i'd like to air a question.
    When are teachers finally going to get together and say enough is enough?
    I teach Maths KS3/4 and as public exams are marked externally, fail to see how it possible to 'manipulate' test results. We have no coursework element in maths.
    Firstly we are criticised for teaching how to pass exams not solve problems, then of not giving every child every chance. Now the extra effort we put in is seen as 'cheating'
    Could someone please explain to me exactly where the line is drawn? Just when does meeting the professional requirement of every child matters compromise a teacher and make them a cheat?
    It is my understanding that if to many get higher marks then then grades are adjusted down... to many get lower marks they are adjusted up. Since this is managed externally just how can any teacher have any 'manipulative' influence?
    If the writer of this article is focusing only on the subjects with a coursework element then surely the provokative headline should state that; Generallities like this only serve to further dilute the student and public perception of the professional in the classroom.
     
  3. Captain Obvious

    Captain Obvious New commenter

    The system is getting corrupted by degrees. Takes maths - where I am, some higher ability students were pulled off normal timetable recently for a day solely to revise for that exam.
    Not cheating, as such, but certainly "the end justifies the means". The responsibility is still put on the school/teacher to achieve the grade - how many on the C/D borderline actually deserve a D rather than a C?
    With coursework it is, of course, easier to do. The spectre of ofsted and forced academisation dictates that the school must, at least, appear to be successful (many will be genuinely successful, of course).
    It will only end when we accept that not everything can be quantified. It will only end when synthetic targets are exposed to be unrealistic in many cases.
     
  4. When I put it to a teacher at a former school that he was helping the students much too much with their coursework, he sais that he had to as 'everyone else' was doing it and if he didn't the kids would be at a disadvantage.

     
  5. You want the truth? Well, here it comes. It's not so much manipulating exams but coursework. BTECs for example, have 90% and I have seen these written, re-written, marked, re-written and I have even witnessed teachers sitting with a student and telling them what to type. They then achieve a distinction which is the equivalent of 4 GCSEs at A-C.

    Even when the little blighters have done nothing at all for the whole two years, I have seen Teachers sitting with them for a whole day and telling them what to type for their assignments.

    Why? Well it's simple really. Schools are judged on results and teachers are judged on results. If a teacher has a class where the 30% of lazy beggars actually fail as a consequence of not doing any work for two years, it is they who would been judged as a poor teacher and after a couple of years would find themselves out of a job.

    This culture of 'every child has to achieve' is ridiculous but it is not of our making. Teachers just have to play with the cards that they are dealt and if they wish to continue to pay their mortgage, they must make sure their students achieve by whatever means possible.
     
  6. Is it just me but is it getting to the point where GCSEs are a case of the tail wagging the dog? My daughter has suffered whole days off timetable to revise for assessments in Science yet I was shocked to find that she had got to Yr 9 without knowing basics such as what the reactivity series is, never having carried out food tests and only having seen some experiments such as the alkali metal reactions with water on Youtube. She seems to be constantly taught 'to the exam' rather than being taught the subject. It seems to me that too much time is wasted in preparing for assessments to cover the school's backside on league tables or in the eyes of OFSTED and too little time is spent in teaching Science as a coherent subject.Personally I am fed up of coming home after 9 hours at work in a non-teaching job (M6 supply teacher, lost out to cheaper alternatives due to cover supervisors and AWR) having to fill in the gaps because all the damned school is bothered about is the National Curriculum level they can fill into their record sheets.
    Strangely in her GCSE exam she did recently she got A*/A* (they've started triple Science in yr 9), the only child in yr 9 or 10 to take that exam that did so and she did not attend any of the after school revision sessions because through understanding the topic revision was not needed. All I did was teach her science at home in a very informal way so that the fragments fed to her at school made sense. I am told that she is fortunate to have me as a resource, I feel that I expect the school to do a job and they are failing my child and all the other students in that class because of this fascination with National Curriculum levels. I agree with the Russian(?) proverb 'you don't fatten a pig by weighing it'.
    I remember when learning a topic was an adventure not just an orienteering course from one assessment to another merely to generate data so someone can kick the ass of the class teacher or the school. Performance-related pay has arrived through academies and the sorry state of affairs is that assessments generate the data needed for this.
    Can we have true child-centred learning back?
     
  7. There is a huge conflict of interest that teachers, heads and schools have to cope with. At the end of the day, it is not surprising that getting 'good results' wins over other the more nebulous, less immediate and unquantifiable goal of 'good education'.
    In addition, there are frequent opportunities for staff (teachers, support staff, heads) to influence the grades the pupils get awarded in public exams. The problem was exacerbated with the introduction of teacher-marked coursework. It was unrealistic to expect staff to be impartial & objective when they themselves were responsible for awarding part of the final grade to their own pupils.
    As long as school staff are involved in administering any part of the exam system or are rewarded by results either directly or indirectly (I understand that some Heads have pay linked to results) then there will be both opportunities and incentives to help pupils get better grades throgh questionable means.
    The plan to get universities involved in setting the A level standard could resolve these issues in a stroke. Pupils would clearly benefit from this as would the education system in the long run.


     
  8. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    That is exactly what <u>is</u> intended to happen on a BTEC course. The other stuff you point out is cheating obviously.
     

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