Gove calls for examination of the examiners

Education secretary Michael Gove has ordered an inquiry following claims last week that examiners are giving teachers ‘secret advice’ on what questions their pupils should expect in GCSE and A-level papers. Read more, and share your views.

An undercover investigation by the Daily Telegraph claims to have exposed the ‘questionable practice’, and now Mr Gove has instructed the exams regulator Ofqual to investigate and report back their findings before Christmas.

It’s claimed that some examiners may be giving schools detailed advice on what they should focus their teaching on, so the temptation for schools could be to “teach to the test” rather than to cover the entire syllabus. It’s also claimed that teachers attending special exam board seminars may be getting information on which areas will be examined.

The story, covered by a number of national and regional news sites, has been causing some debate among readers. Here is our pick of the top comments:

Daily Telegraph – marxbrother comments: “Nowadays passing the exam is all, learning is secondary.”

Independent – saffapat comments: “Schools often choose which board to use based on what grades their pupils might get.  The higher the grades in the school, the better it is for the school.  No school wants to be at the bottom of the table.  Until the league tables are scrapped, education will continue to suffer. “

Guardian – Thequillguy comments: “The bottom line is that we have a need for an independent exam board.”

Daily Mail – Ex Services Veteran comments: “Nothing new in this at all – way back in the 50s and 60s we students of the old GCE syllabus all spent time going over previous exam papers looking for the ‘repeat’ and ‘banker’ questions, it was and has always been part of ‘the exam technique’ part of any studies. There were also books published showing old questions and the ways to answer exam questions to get better marks/grades.”

What do you think about this issue? Should there be a nationalised exam board? Or is this, as some people have claimed, nothing new and just part of ‘exam technique’? Share your views with other Eteach readers below.


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