UK: Education Secretary Nicky Morgan thinks top grades don’t mean good education system
WORLD / U.K. – Nicky Morgan doesn’t believe in high grades and drilling students. She believes in knowledge and true education over grade-targeting.
Between 1982 to 2010, the number of students getting top A-level grades on exams tripled from less than 9% to 27%. This level of success was sustained in 2011, but dropped in 2012 and again in 2013. U.K. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan suggests that they will again drop this year.
Top grades do not mean good education system
Morgan stated more top grades in exams is not synonymous with an improving overall education system. According to her, the reason that increase occurred in the past was because of the “drilling” students go through. Some students were also placed on low-grade qualifications by the schools to increase positioning on league tables.
But this top-grades manipulation and focus has been halted with changes in the education system. One of the major changes was to only include a student’s first attempt in the official tables. So, although a student will be able to retake the exam and improve their grade, the first grade that they receive will be the only one actually presented on the league table.
Changes in system to stem grade-targeting
Also, instead of taking of the exam in two parts – once in January, and again in the summer – the entire test is taken during the summer. This makes it harder to improve your grade from the second part to the first. The coursework was also downgraded.
Morgan showed her distaste for “ever higher grades and pass rates” which were the case when Michael Gove was on board. She said that obtaining them was done at the sacrifice of true understanding of the given material.
A-level results out this week
When the results are out this week for the 300,000 students, it is expected that half of the test papers will be a B or above, and a C or better will be found on three-quarters of them.
Ofqual, the organization that monitors test taking will like this result because their goal was to get rid of grade inflation. At a certain point, if the amount of people getting high grades continued to rise, quality and integrity of the exam would surely have to come into question.
“As these reforms start to take effect, results may well change. What really matters isn’t that numbers rise, but that standards rise. So no matter what the results, there is one important thing to remember. Each and every single pupil this year can be confident that the results they worked so hard to achieve represent real achievement – and will give them a better, brighter start in life,” is what Morgan had to say in her first national newspaper article as the Education Secretary.
Ofqual has apparently been reducing grade inflation slowly, as not to make changes too drastic.
Do you think your country’s academic system is too focused on grades instead of educating students?