East Lancs teachers slam exam claims

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: East Lancs teachers slam exam claims East Lancs teachers slam exam claims

EAST Lancashire teachers have slammed claims it is unfair to teach students the skills they need to pass exams as “ridiculous”.

Headteachers vehemently denied ‘teaching to the test’ and offering ‘early entrance’ to certain exams are ‘unfair tactics’.

Ofqual – the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation – said it wants teachers to anonymously disclose the tactics used to give students an "unfair advantage" in boosting their exam results.

The exam watchdog will launch an online survey this week to hear teachers’ views on entering students early for exams or focusing on areas of the curriculum that are most likely to be tested.

Ofqual said that while such approaches may not break any rules, they may “undermine qualification standards”.

Haslingden High headteacher Mark Jackson said: “How can teaching to the test be viewed as unfair - that’s what we are here to do.

“To get the kids results. No one in Central Government is telling us to not worry about exams and let the pupils get by on their great personality.

“We do lots of other things in school to make sure our pupils are well rounded individuals.

“But when it comes to taking exams, yes we are going to teach them how to pass a test.

“To suggest schools should do otherwise is ridiculous.”

Headteacher at Norden High School in Rishton Tim Mitchell said: “It’s not to seek an advantage for yourself but it is for the children because they are expected to pass these exams. It doesn’t matter how bright they are if they do not figure out how to pass. If an early entry gives them a release from a bit of the pressure, they still earned the grade.”

The move has also attracted national criticism.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “Not doing everything a school could to prepare students effectively would be a dereliction of duty.

“While we take very seriously our responsibility to work closely with Ofqual to maintain standards of professional practice, ASCL has serious concerns about treating anonymous and anecdotal feedback as ‘evidence’.”

Ofqual said they view the survey as an important stage in moving from anecdote to “a firmer evidence base”.

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