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Are the league tables ‘absurd’?

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 post was filed under: News and Comment.

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