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Exam pressure is restricting learning and squeezing the joy out of teaching

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    ‘The majority of both teachers and parents believe that the pressure on schools to deliver good exam results is increasingly leading to a narrowing of the curriculum.

    A new poll also shows that four out of five teachers find that delivering an exam-centred curriculum makes their job less enjoyable.

    Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that government obsession with exam rigour was “turning secondary school education into a long grind towards GCSEs”.’


    How do you feel about the pressure to deliver exam results? Has the pressure affected your enjoyment of the job? What are your views about the exam syllabus in your subject and teaching it?
  2. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    The new 9-1 GCSE course in technology was what brought an end to my teaching career. As I have recounted on other threads, all the old separate specialisms; graphics, electronics, resistant materials, textiles and systems and control etc have all been rolled into one course with little bits taken from here and there. There was just list after list of stuff for the students to learn - list learning at its most tedious. The amount of content could only be taught to the detriment of the practical work and skills - the very things that attracted students to the subject in the first place.

    I was completely out of my depth as I had neither the knowledge, experience or training to teach all this new stuff. After a year of teaching the course in which I basically scoured the internet for videos and worksheets to keep one step ahead of the students, I decided that they were getting a raw deal and deserved to be taught by someone who knew what they were talking about and was interested in all this stuff - it wasn't me.

    I retired last year feeling that the subject I had loved and cherished had been taken away from me and, more importantly, had been denied the students. DT is an important subject for giving students a taste of manufacturing, designing and making - the very things needed for a prosperous and productive economy. However, in many schools the subject is on the slide due to the cost of offering the course, the retirement (early or otherwise) of many teachers like me and the collapse in DT teacher recruitment to just 25% of the government's target. I feel that this wretched new Technology course is, in large part, to blame.
  3. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    "Is" ? Has been for the last decade at least. In my view it is directly leading to worse behaviour as children become disengaged at a lower and lower age. The retention crisis (I won't even mention recruitment as I don't think that's the biggest issue any more) is also directly related to the push for ever more data at the expense of proper teaching and learning.
    agathamorse, woollani and Shedman like this.
  4. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    Far too much pressure is being put into teachers that have little control over results.

    Far too much pressure is being handed down to children who cannot cope with this pressure and some just break and quit.

    What is the point of exams? To prove you are better than the other person? When I worked in recruitment, the students with top English grades could not even write a covering letter!

    Pressure for teachers = focus on passing the subject so grades are not a true reflection of skill. Some teachers even cheat to fudge the figures! I knew a whole school that did this!

    Pressure for students = cramming for exams then forgetting it afterwards so is not a true reflection of skill.

    Exams = not a true reflection of knowledge or skill.
    Shedman and woollani like this.
  5. maggie m

    maggie m Established commenter

    The new science course is a disaster for most students. I have a set 3 class. Mostly nice kids who want to do well. They are not likely to be high flyers in science but they are curious about things. They would probably make good technicians in the broadest sense. unfortunately this doesn't necessarily fit with the curriculum. So I have to force stuff down their throats that they are not interested in and I can see them slowly switching off.

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