Friday, 6 September 2013

It was only a matter of time

Okay, I had to wade in. But credit me; I bit my tongue already.

August school exam results bin and gone, as the whole world knows.

To say other than Congratulations for the terrific achievement and hard work etc etc etc is treachery. I Must Not Say (repeat 100 times) that school children are made copying parrots and some have done very well at it. If I say this treason out loud, people would cross the road to avoid me, make throat-slitting gestures and snake eyes in my direction, and I must slink home in shame. So, Congratulations for the terrific achievement, etc etc etc.

The reality is, grade boundaries have cak all to do with a person's intelligence; A* to C do not reflect whether Tinkertop is bright or dull. Worse, Tinkertop, if she has a great memory, but fuck all interest in a subject, can breeze away with an A*, whereas poor old Florabunda, who may be passionate about the very same subject, is kicked onto the failure heap of life if she drags out a measly D. What then is an exam grade measuring?

In truth, grade boundaries - regardless of whether they are made by the exam boards or by the minister leaning in a particular direction - are in themselves political decisions, and they become a means to justify decisions in all policy areas, whether management, staff recruitment, or restructuring the state schooling system.

Now I've started, may as well get it done. Gove is whittling away at state education not because he cares whether Tinkertop 'reaches her full potential' or whether she dosses about in the back row. He messes about with state education because it is bloomin' expensive and, given his ideology, he needs to reduce the financial cost of it to the state while forcing it to become profitable in its own right. I think we can expect, down at your local Bessie Street comp, more selling, more venture capital, more consumers, more language of goods, outcome and product, and more adaptation from the models of education services already sold in a global market.

For all this to happen, Tinkertop must be turned into a consumer - and you thought she was enough of one already - but my feeling is, we haven't seen anything yet. Wait till her mama and papa properly become a buyer of her educational goods and services as the state norm. Then we'll see the day when Tinkertop takes her teacher to court for failing to deliver her with the A grade she paid for.

And, just as an addendum, I distinctly recall telling my HoD in 1989 that the bastard Tories were after performance related pay, to which they answered, That'll never happen.

They should never have removed my soap box from the Post Office queue, I'm telling ya.

Not entirely a home ed-free post. Home educated children take exams too. Perhaps with a more cynical eye, and less willing to lap up the nonsense of Gove. I did a quick count of 20 exam results posted up from home educators which resulted in the following grades across a range of subjects: 15 kids got A*; 19 got grade A; 9 grade B; 5 grade C; 7 grade D; 1 grade E, and 1 grade F, which I wondered whether to count because the kid taking it was aged 11 and took it when his brother was doing it and he wanted to know what an exam was like. I guess he walked in with almost zero preparation.

No comments: