Thursday, 15 August 2019

Testing, testing...

It's that time of year again, the day when local newspaper photographers everywhere try to get photos like this...

or this...

or even this...

So predictable.

So is the coverage of their print or broadcast colleagues who usually try some way of devaluing the results, criticising teachers, claiming it was all much harder last year (or when they took the exam) and so on. And on. Yawn.

What never seems to be discussed (at least, not often) is this.

Why do we persist with this cockamamy system of applying for a place at university before (not after) results come out?

In what other walk of life would you be asked to apply for something that required a certain level of accreditation before securing it? Oh yes, I know you need to be a qualified in medicine to apply for a job as a surgeon, but I'm working on it. I watch Holby City every day!

Perhaps self-styled 'mental heavyweight' advisor Dominic Cummings and his self-styled 'intelligent' political master Michael Gove could have turned their combined brain to this when running education, rather than changing GCSE grades A-G to grades 1-9 (yes, they couldn't even count!) and other such footling fiddling at the margins of the problem.

But no. Everyone wants to spend the day arguing about grade inflation and unconditional offers (surely a big hint that the current system isn't working) rather than tackle the problem, or tackle those who for years, while in charge, failed to tackle the problem.

There has at last been some discussion on the subject as we approached this year's exam results day. But the headlines this morning were, predictably enough, all about grade boundaries and getting offers without even needing any grades, and what that might have done to grades, and how university admissions departments might be punished for daring to want some control over the process.

But my bet it'll be a long, long time (if ever) before someone has the courage (and intelligence) to tackle such an issue.

Bit like the drugs problem. But then, like education, that's something they all think they know something about. Because, of course, they all went to school.

And they've all taken drugs.

At least, Michael Gove has.

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