Ready or Not

April 15, 2016 at 2:30 pm (Uncategorized)

When I was at school my long suffering friend Danielle used to make me go to gymnastics club before school once a week. She was very gymanstic.  I was not. However over time and through PE lessons I built up to a stage where I was able to take the B.A.G.A awards.  Fine I probably never made it past four but still I got one or two of them and I was very proud of that. In sixth form I took driving lessons for months.  My driving instructor was a very patient man and put up with me throwing tantrums when I did not get thiings right.  When I booked my original test he thought it was a hasty move and said it was probably too soon.  We will never know if he was right because it got cancellede same and moved back 6 weeks. He probably was right and I passed first time – largely because of the extra six weeks practice. It was the same with music exams.  I took graded singing and piano exams (you’ll note the lack of a number.  It’s not impressive enough to share) and I took them when my teacher thought I was ready.

You probably see what I’m driving at.  One of the biggest problems teachers face is getting thirty very different students all prepared for the same exam at the same time. Right now the date of the first GCSEs is fast approaching and most teachers will have given up at least one day of the Easter “holidays” to cram as much revision into students heads as possible.  If only they had more time.

Is it so impractical and impossible to imagine a system where students progress at the pace they are ready for and when they are ready for it?  As schools have progressed into giant factories with 1500 pupils being the standard for a secondary school it would of course be a logistical minefield to change to a system where students have individually tailored curriculum but is that a reason not to do it?  One has only to look at the 18 year olds who are still taking their Maths GCSE in addition to their A-Levels to see the devastating affect on morale it has to students to take an exam before they are prepared for it.  Having sat the exam six or seven times and still not achieved the grade C, while constantly being told they should have done so by their age leave them feeling it’s not worth trying and they will never get it when in fact all the research points that they can of course achieve it.

So is it feasible?  Could we ever have schools that allow students to take exams when they are ready and not when the exam factory culture says they should?  It’s definitely something worth considering.


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