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What can we do to stop schools pressurising teachers to ‘wildly inflate grades’?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    ‘Schools are rigging results by pointing out the right answers to pupils during Sats, and teachers have been forced to complete their students' GCSE coursework "under duress", it has been claimed.

    According to delegates at the National Education Union (ATL) conference, some teachers have inflated grades after coming under "pressure from senior leadership".

    Bob Groome, from the union's Norfolk branch, said he frequently supported members facing a capability process "due to the fact that [their] classes are not making sufficient progress according to the data held".

    However, he said that digging into the school's overall records often revealed "a problem with the data”.’

    What are your views about this issue? Have you witnessed teachers helping pupils to cheat on their exams or help them with their coursework? Is data the real reason why some teachers are resorting to cheating? Does the message about cheating and the reliance on data need to change and if so who is responsible for this problem? What do you think needs to be done to fix the problem?

  2. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Get rid of the climate of fear, that's what. Fear of capability, fear relating to PRP. If managers couldn't wield this as threats there'd be less 'cheating'.

    Where it comes from management, stop managers jobs depending on stupid league tables. Let them manage GOOD SCHOOLS not profitable businesses.
  3. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I know of this in one very well-known MAT which isn't short of boasting about its achievements. I ought to do something but the repercussions would be horrific.

    On a lesser note, it is not unheard of for teachers to supply predicated grades only for them to be changed by data managers before presentation to the MAT.

    Another aspect of our broken system thanks to Ofsted, academisation and the insane pressures of accountability.
    JohnJCazorla and stonerose like this.
  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Senior commenter

    Managers have a very easy life when they can look at a spreadsheet and swoop down on any teacher who has red squares next to their name. The validity of the data which generates the red square is never questioned. I have had many ridiculous "predicted" grades attached to students who could never achieve them. I never played the data game. I simply entered the results for my assessments and never looked at the "flightpath" thing which inevitably followed. It is all pointless nonsense.
    I know of many teachers who mark assessments with the flightpath thingy in front of them. They alter their marking to ensure that little Johnny achieves the "expected" grade. It just avoids all the hullabaloo which ensues if little Johnny is on a C- when the flightpath says he should be a C+. Another popular way of avoiding the grief is to alter the mark scheme and grade boundaries and award extra marks for the easier questions to suit the students who are below "expected". Makes a total nonsense of the assessments but that is hardly the point.
    If a school puts a teacher on capability because their data shows that they are not on the flightpath targets then the school should be closed. The management have proved beyond doubt that they are unfit to run a school.
  5. install

    install Star commenter

    Some might say -

    1 Stop the practice of making 'predicted grades'

    2 Allow all Examiners in schools to be externally recruited

    3 Allow teachers to teach and not to feel maybe accountable for the school position in League Tables

    4 Encourage CEOs, HTs, Exec hts and Consultants to teach challenging classes

    5 Stop the process of League Tables

    6 Allow Ofsted to go. With the money saved - use it to support education better
    giotto, bevdex, stonerose and 3 others like this.
  6. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    This is key and pretty much everything else hangs upon it. Once you have factored in postcodes and social situations we may as well go back to parents making judgements based on location and social strata, the league tables only reinforce that bias and do very little for school improvement.
    stonerose, galerider123 and install like this.
  7. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Flightpath. :rolleyes:
    cassandramark2, needabreak and Jamvic like this.
  8. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Stumbled across this the other day.
    Back in 2015 some teachers (and administrators) in Atlanta were caught exam cheating. The guy at the top got a 20 year sentence, with several others getting locked up.

    An interesting bit for me is where it says some had to 'pay back the bonuses' they got for hitting the exam pass target.

    Lessons to be learned... or conveniently ignored?

  9. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    We'd have to build some prisons if "helping" pupils with coursework is included.

    When students in low sets all get a C for their coursework and an F or G on the exam, you'd think someone would notice.

    But no-one did. And no-one cared. So it continued. I once received a piece of coursework from a school I worked with, that the pupil couldn't even read. He'd just written what he was told. There were semi-colons everywhere - he'd never seen one before. We were terrified of the exam board thinking we'd helped children when we hadn't 20 years ago. Things soon change.

    I let it slide though. What do you do? It was the tip of the iceberg after all...
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
    num3bers and Jamvic like this.
  10. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    The I.B.O. have a very simple solution for schools that grade internal assessments wrongly. They moderate a few and adjust all the others up or down, depending on whether the school has been too generous or too harsh.

    A similar solution would quickly put UK schools in their place. Universities need only keep a record of predicted and achieved grades by schools and then adjust subsequent predictions by the difference. Parents with genuinely deserving kids would soon start screaming when their child's predicted grade was discounted due to the school's previous dishonesty.

    I can recall being pressured by a director of studies to up my grading, so the parents wouldn't be on his back. I refused, much to his extreme annoyance, and my great amusement.
  11. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    You got that right.

    And we would have to build even more if copyright infringement by schools was addressed. One of my students, from what's meant to be one of Enfield's better schools, turned up with a whole chapter that had been photocopied from a very widely used, and easily available, textbook. The school had made copies of this chapter (and others) and handed them out to everyone in the class.
  12. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Mmmm, you seem to be ignorant of the procedures governing internal assessment in UK schools.

    FYI the procedures are exactly as you describe as the gold standard run by the I.B.O.

    I wonder if there is anything else you are ignorant of about UK schools and teaching?

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