So at last we all know. The High Court has not accepted a bid from school leaders, teachers’ unions and councils to change grade boundaries in last summer’s GCSE English exams.
Apparently all is well because the standards of our examination system have been preserved. That must be good. A legal decision has been made.
Well that might be the single loop view (as systems thinkers might say) But take a look at the double loop….. ….We now have teenagers who are stepping out for the relative cocoon of secondary school, having tried their best, having endured all the motivational techniques their teachers knew only to be punished by the system. Although I’ve seen no admission I think its reasonable to assume that all English students even those with A, B and C grades have been affected. I deeply suspect English is not the only subject.
Without doubt those who failed to achieve have been dealt a harsh blow by the leaders of our education system. Those who were awarded D grades are by definition students who are less able than many of their peers. Recovering confidence from one poor grade amongst several A’s. B’s and C’s may be relatively easy, but rising to peak performance when you’re not academically strong and maybe you’re not hard-wired to classroom learning is a much tougher ask. My heart goes out to the latter group.
Let’s remember the teaching staff too. They’ve tried hard for these youngsters.
So perhaps there are other loops in play here. One for teenagers on-going drive and motivation to succeed in their chosen careers; another for the educators who have to be motivated to re-inspire them. Both knowing that statistical fixes can change their path so easily.
So maybe legally right, but definitely morally wrong.