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Are the league tables ‘absurd’?

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Warning: This post was published more than 12 years ago.

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Are the league tables ‘absurd’? (BBC News)

In a word, ‘yes’.

And from now on, anyone who achieves a distinction in the ABC Certificate in cake decoration, for example, will get 55 points, compared to 52 for an A-grade GCSE.

I’m not an expert in cake decorating, so perhaps I’m misjudging this. Perhaps cake decorating is a very difficult skill which requires the same amount of training, learning, and general skill as a two-year mathematics qualification. However, I do know about IT and maths:

One school, for example, reported that the weekly lesson time taken up by GCSE maths, GCSE English and GNVQ information technology was the same: four hours.

Of the students taking them, 25% gained a grade C or above in English and 18% in maths – and 80% in the GNVQ.

Either the GNVQ was four times easier than the maths GCSE or its teachers were four times as good, he concluded.

But – “incredibly” – the GNVQ is worth the equivalent of four higher-grade GCSEs.

“So making the four hours per week studying IT sixteen times as effective in boosting the school’s league table position as the four hours spent studying maths.”

Is there something major I’m missing here, or has the education system in this country gone completely insane? Clearly, Stephen Twigg thinks I’m missing something:

This is a significant step forward in recognising the achievements of all pupils

I think he’d support an ‘Everybody Gets a Trophy Day’, too. I think the Independent Schools Council has got it more spot-on:

This is absurd … This is not even a case of trying to compare apples and pears: it is comparing apples with candy floss.”

This 197th post was filed under: News and Comment.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 4th March 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th February 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 31st December 2016)

The undead patient (published 30th December 2005)

Tom Harris MP wants to give me a car – with driver! (published 22nd February 2009)

Sainsbury’s idiotic survey scores own goal (published 11th March 2012)

Because vandals like Tetris, too (published 1st February 2007)


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