A cold chill blowing across the Moors. It might be June but it’s feeling more like November. Spot the well hidden, very secret military listening base in the distance.

They hid that one well 🤣🤣🤣🤣

I wonder if those at the base will listen in to me having a rant about education, AGAIN. If they are listening well can you record the next message. Boris Johnson has blood on his hands, he’s taking us all for fools and he should be in prison….

Anyway I’m GNARLY today…..

School finally sent through a bundle of mock exam papers. No instructions, so I guess it’s work through them under exam conditions and send them back for marking. So poor Hawklad sat the first paper today. In the living room wearing his Ron from Parks & Recreation T-shirt. You never see Ron and Ned Flanders in the same room together – just saying.

Anyway back to the two hour home sat mock exam. We tried near enough exam conditions. No help, no books, no internet, no extra time. But he could get up and walk about. No need to put a hand up to go to the toilet. If he wanted to get a snack from the kitchen, he could. Exams stop children doing what comes naturally to them. Modern day Victorian enslavement.

I am GNARLY…..

After the exam I checked how it went….

Hawklad struggled. Clearly in this subject much of what has been taught in the classroom has not found it’s way here. You can’t revise if you not taught the area first….. Then we come to the exam paper wording. Do this and you fail, don’t do this and you fail, your not allowed to do this…. Is it possible to make the instructions more cold and foreboding. And then the question wording. They’re not exactly brief…. Not exactly clear. Misread one key word and you’re stuffed. The convoluted wording is often open to multiple interpretations but only one will get you marks. That is a nightmare for pupils under pressure and stress. That is a nightmare for those who struggle with reading skills. It’s a nightmare for kids like Hawklad who often interpret things in different ways, who can read most of the words but occasionally get the odd word wrong.

Hawklad talked about two questions in particular that really spooked him. I’m not at all surprised. I have a Masters Degree in this area, I’ve worked for years doing things covered in these two questions. One question involved working out an angle. A seriously complex problem to solve that I would describe as a two coffee solution. I would need at least two coffees to work this one out. How can that be a fair school exam question. The other question involved completing a technical drawing of a complex 3D shape. I’m not entirely sure I could ever do it by hand, maybe with an online drawing package. If your going to do this as a question surely you use a far simpler shape that gives the pupils a chance of completing while under pressure. Again….

How can this be a fair question….

Why do we let our children go through this. The stress of exams. Some are good in exams, many are definitely not. Countless studies have shown the negative impact exam pressure can have on mental health. And why, what are they trying to achieve. These exams are not about showing what the child can do, it’s about showing what they can’t do. Exams like this are setting many up to fail. It’s definitely not about finding the special talents that every single child will have. They are only about filtering out, child weeding based on such a narrow, arcane part of life. PINK FLOYD definitely got it right with Another Brick in the Wall.

Look at the state of those in charge of The UK and you realise that the education system just doesn’t work. It definitely doesn’t work for the children.

38 thoughts on “Another brick….

  1. “These exams are not about showing what the child can do, it’s about showing what they can’t do.” Gary, I think you are right. Reading about that horror exam makes me wonder if the kids are meant to be scared off instead of animated to show what they learned.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. UGH!! So sorry for Hawklad and you as well. We as parents hate to see our children go through hard things and its so frustrating especially when this could be prevented! The school wouldn’t have to do this like you pointed out. I hope you both did something relaxing after the exam! (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In Aotearoa New Zealand, our main school qualification is NCEA, which has 3 levels (years 11,12,13). Depending on the subject, some, most or all of the student’s coursework through the year contribute to the qualification. Exams are primarily used to moderate results across teachers and schools. So an individual’s exam result in a specific subject on a specific day doesn’t need to determine their prospects for the rest of their life. It has its critics, but overall I think that it is a more equitable system than one based only on examinations.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The exam system does seem quite an unbalanced system, has you said lots of children struggle with the pressure of both studying for and sitting exams. I feel for both you as a parent but especially for your son.
    In many respects what we learn in school doesn’t really apply to our lives after school so maybe the whole system should be looked at
    I continue to wish you and your son well.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Currently for work I’m having to do “mandatory training” with a lot of it totally irrelevant to the job. It’s even got questions to do with social media (something I do NOT wish to participate in). It’s a crash course over a few weeks instead of a year. I might be feeling the similar stress to Hawklad, because I’ve not had the how to, then had to. As for the online portfolio site, that is a whole new shed load of stress. The course is yet another government directive and has to be done, need I say more?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve never understood why schools have such huge exams. Even back in our dinosaur days it seemed like a dumb concept.

    I’ve always thought schools should open a child’s mind and show them HOW to learn and the different subjects available to study and not just parroting back whatever was crammed into their heads.

    So much stress and pressure over something that will probably NEVER be used in adult life is just ridiculous.

    Put me in charge of schools! No, nevermind… I’m a complete disaster and shouldn’t be allowed out without supervision😂😂


    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s the same here. They have pointed out the unfair systems of testing for years here in the states. And the new math which is even alien to my granddaughter who is struggling to help her 1st grader. At a loss here. Exams and SAT’s. Hot topics.

    Liked by 1 person

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