Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Is it a good thing to pass exams?

OK, daft question, I know. Or not...

You see, in my time as a teacher I think I've got a whole lot better at teaching (well, you'd hope, wouldn't you?), and as a consequence I reckon that I'm able to present at least some of the material in a way that makes it more accessible to less able students. Fair enough.

But let's to put it another way: if I think back to my very first Higher class, I can see that the older, more experienced version of me would have been able to get considerably more of them through the exam.

But! is this a good thing? At what point does getting kids through an exam (the Holy Grail of all our masters, though they'd deny it) become something along the lines of irresponsible? What happens when they leave school and head for courses or training where it's assumed they actually understand the subject, when in fact all they have a motley bag of tricks and half-remembered methods that just about adds up to 50% in an exam on the day?

Should we be worried?

OK, I'm not advocating that kids should be taught badly - that would be ridiculous. But so much of school feels like an exam factory these days, I have to at least consider the question.

Heigh ho... soon be the holidays!

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