[FoRK] The rise of the stupid?

Andy Armstrong andy at hexten.net
Sun Feb 27 13:34:52 PST 2005

On 27 Feb 2005, at 21:14, Ken Meltsner wrote:
>> <http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/reports/>
> Nice to see that America is once again playing catch up in education.
> Probably due to envy of the British "public" school system due to too
> many movies and books romanticizing the joys of upper-class private
> education, and too many American conservatives with blatant envy of
> inherited titles.

Heh... If that's the case they should come and check out the reality 
before committing to anything. There have been some truly dreadful 
schools in the UK in the past and it's nice to have a way of rooting 
them out them but the current metrics are having substantial unexpected 
side effects. For example one of the measures used is the percentage of 
pupils obtaining grades A-C in their GCSE (aged ~16) exams. School 
funding is tied to this and other performance indicators. As a result 
these grades have shot up, mainly because kids who seem to be at risk 
of not obtaining an A-C pass at GCSE are diverted into a parallel set 
of qualifications (GNVQ) which, although they provide the schools with 
A-C passes (a GNVQ is equivalent for those purposes to four A-C GCSEs), 
have very little currency with employers and in further education. Once 
embarked on this route (the implications of which are well understood 
by the kids) it is not possible for them to switch back to a GCSE 

As a result the school looks OK but the kids often lack any English or 
Math qualifications and have no route into continuing education.

Andy Armstrong, hexten.net

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