December 2011
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GCSE history and 'cheating' exam boards

I have blogged several times on the unethical system that allows examination boards to set the papers, write the books and train the teachers in how to get their kids to pass the exam. The reason this stinks, and why other people are now up in arms is simple. If you pay £200 to attend a training session in which you are given privileged, if not illegal, information about what topics will come up in the exam, then your kids have an advantage. If you would prefer to, stay at school and teach your kids some history, rather than just exam technique, then you are disadvantaged. It was somewhat ironical that the 2 teachers who had the whistle blown by the Daily Telegraph were history chief examiners.They will be investigated, but in many ways they are just scapegoats for a corrupt system. I hope Gove has the moral courage to really root out this problem and not be fobbed off with feeble explanations that it was some how the fault of just a few rogue examiners and that the problem has now been sorted. However, it isn’t just the corruption that I hate: it is the flagrant empty championing of exam technique over understanding. As one of the benighted Chief Examiners said in an appalling gaffe captured on camera, “We would want to do all three topics as educationalists, but …” What else are we if not educationalists? Yes there is pressure for good exam results. but is turning up to a meeting where someone immorally leaks confidential information the real route to success?
Was it just me who smiled wryly when they learnt that the guilty board discussed here was WJEC. When history teachers openly admit that they enter kids for that exam only because it is easier than all the others then my heart sinks. The sooner we have one exam board the better, so none of us has to be tainted with this sharp practice. I, for one, am pleased it has all been exposed . I just hope we don’t hear

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