Friday, 22 June 2012

Stretching Children is Cruel

The dog's breakfast that is the English schools examination system could quite readily be cleared up.  A system of public examination centres where examinations at any pre-university level could be taken by candidates of any age or status, set by a public body and marked and adjudicated under the surveillance of a public body should do the trick;  on the lines of the examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.  An Associated Board of the Universities of England, so to speak.

These examinations would qualify a candidate for matriculation.  There need be no rows about the abolition of GCSEs and the creation of two-tiered systems.  Current school-based examinations of the GCSE kind with course work and resits etc., could continue to run, providing a school-based assessment system which was equally accessible to  all school learners but didn't necessarily lead to university study, although the universities could also set the standards needed to matriculate by the GCSE route.

As a matter of fact, at the moment, any examination candidate not falling within the parameters drawn by a school-based system suffers discrimination.  A dual system of which one route was outside the schools would be more open and fairer to everyone, regardless of age or the manner of their education.  The subjects on offer would be drawn from a wider knowledge base than available to  schools, too.  We have an Open University: why not an Open School using the modern resources available for learning now? 

I think I might have a stab at classical Greek; sadly, time's up for the violin.


Sackerson said...

Agreed, in fact I was saying this privately (using the music analogy) years ago. Instead of being graded like an egg, you'll always be past one level and heading for another.

hatfield girl said...

Not sure about 'always', S. The Associated Boards have the virtue of letting the realisation dawn that a limit has been reached. It doesn't take much at Grade 5 to know that 6 is beyond a decent level of achievement - so you (or at least I) stop, unhurt by failure and with a useful body of knowledge and a nodding acquaintance with a whole world of music.