The future of exams and assessments the variations of results
The future of exams and assessments the variations of results:
Following on from the previous blog around exams and assessments at the Conservative conference.
We discussed the future of exams and the value of rote learning.
The exams regulator in 2016 did an experiment, they took a GCSE English literature paper and they put it out to a range of chief examiners.
So these were experts in examining. Forty percent of the examiners disagreed about the grades awarded 40 out of 100 percent agreed of those exams disagree.
The disagreement is even higher in history.
History gets an even higher level of disagreement about the assessment.
That's because it's very difficult to assess a subjective subject.
And if you put all the assessment onto a two hour exam, then you'd like to get it wrong.
The agreement is much higher in math and science in and science is over 90 percent. But for humanities, subject is much more difficult. And if all you've got is the exam paper and you have that level of divergence of the grade, then that creates a real problem that you know what you have to accept in any level. But you can when you then shot the grades and finally, from the nine to a one, when you get more grades, it's more likely that you're going to get the wrong grade because the boundary level for each different grade is much less the scale at which you could get wrong. Grade is much greater.
So we have to accept that even when we award, a greater GCSE is highly likely on a different day or with a different examiner. The pupil could have got two grades with one or two grades up.
That's the same. So what we need is a more balanced mode of assessment. And on the other issue that I want to examine is that we now come in England top of the OECD table for rote learning.
We became came third two years ago now where rote learning is fine for lower order tasks. If you want to learn your timetables, which I did with difficulty. Rote learning is fun.
But if you want to have higher order thinking skills, which are needed by employers and in the world of work and in the world of life, if you want to be able to take knowledge, synthesize it and use it for new purposes, then rote learning won't get you there. It just won't get you there.
The rote learning was reported as the favored method of teaching by teachers and the most common method of learning by pupils. So we're top of the details about them.
Schneider, the head an education at the OECD says this is another massive flaw in our education system. When I asked him Why are we talking about the rote learning details? He said, Well, you of your pupils do more examinations than virtually any of the countries in the developed world.
So rote learning is an absolutely adequate explanation for that. Teachers are making logical decisions because their pupils life chances depend on their ability to perform in the test. But in the real world, actually what you have to do is synthesize that knowledge that you've learned and use it for new purposes.
How do you apply that knowledge to the world and to your work? And that's really important.
Two weeks ago, the Education Policy Institute also revealed something else really important, and that is the range of subject options for our annual students have narrowed dramatically.
So if you put the subject of into into creative humanity science vocational and is one and one languages and things like that, ten years ago, over 60 percent of students would take subject choices from three different or four different clubs.
Now, only 20 percent of students take a range of subjects at A-level. Then the narrowing of subject choices has profound implications, both for their ability to succeed in life.
Their ability to apply for a range of work because you're going to be more employable if you've got a math qualification, a language qualification, a humanities qualification or a creative qualification, you're much more you have more options open to you. But what we are doing for an over exam system is narrowing down the life chances of our children when in 2010, So it's 38 percent of students sustainable study three or more of these groups. In 2019, only 17 percent of students took choices in three or more subject groups.
So we have to stop the narrowing. We have to stop the rote learning. We have to prepare children and young people for life. Knowledge is important. Absolutely. Exams have their place. Absolutely. But we overuse them. We over test and we are falling down into National League tables because we are offering such a simplistic method of assessment which fails to meet the needs of children and young people in 21st century.