Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday 9 December 2011

Exam cheating - everyone's a loser

The news this week that exam boards have been running courses at which teachers were told which subject areas would come up in exams is, alas, less of a surprise than it should be.

The existence of rival exam boards competing for custom means the system is inherently flawed. There is far more at stake than the simple exam fees; when a school adopts a particular syllabus, it will then buy appropriate textbooks and teaching materials (to say nothing of pupils buying past papers and revision guides) and send staff on courses run by the board - all of them nice little earners.

This willingness on the part of both exam boards and teachers to cut corners is an illustration of the way education in this country has been undermined; the undignified scramble to an end result inevitably means compromising the vital process of education and instruction.

It's reminiscent of the rival undertakers in Dave Allen's sketch:

This matter has been written on with more inside knowledge and eloquence than I could ever muster at Going Fast, Getting Nowhere - if you haven't already done so, I urge you to read the post.


  1. Bring back the Schools Certificate and Matriculation.

  2. It would certainly make things easier and restore faith in UK qualifications - though it might initially be a struggle to get today's pupils up to the the required standard.

  3. Well, this is surely an argument for only having one national exam board.

  4. Though since its employees would be public sector workers, you'd have to make sure the teaching unions didn't get their fingers in the pie - it would be one hell of a hostage with which to hold the country to ransome.


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