League tables drive degree class inflation | Letter | Education

With reference to grade inflation (Universities launch code to address concern over degree grade inflation, 10 October), the data on the increasing numbers of upper second-class and first-class degrees shows a direct correlation with the introduction of university league tables. British universities are autonomous; unlike A-levels and GCSEs, universities set their own standards and mark their students’ work within broad guidelines. Importantly, they also set their own rules for how a student’s marks are aggregated to derive their degree classification…

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Norman Stone was brilliant, funny, a doll | Brief letters | Education

Re Richard Evans’ obituary of Norman Stone (26 June): what Evans says has truth in it, but it’s far from the whole truth. Stone was a brilliant teacher, hilarious company, a fascinating lecturer, and a charming admirer. And, which is surely the point about #MeToo, he didn’t get shirty or use it against you if you said no – which is why some of us didn’t. His becoming so rightwing and drunk in later life was a pity, but earlier…

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Brexit ‘putting pupils off modern foreign languages’ | Education

The aftermath of Brexit and the difficulty of new GCSE and A-level exams have combined to put off young people from studying modern foreign languages (MFL) at school, according to a new report by the British Council. While more than two-thirds of teachers surveyed by the British Council said the difficulty of the exams was causing concern, one in four said Brexit had “cast a pall” over pupils learning any foreign languages, with some parents actively discouraging their children. Teachers…

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Dear Damian Hinds, let’s put horrid adult experiences on the curriculum | Michael Rosen | Education

I see you’ve been talking to school students about education. I was very interested in your justification for exams being stressful: “…when you leave school, hard and stressful things come along. Learning about what can be stressful episodes is part of the preparation for later life.” I wonder if there is a principle here: whatever horrible experience we have in later life should either be put on the school curriculum or be part of how the curriculum is taught. For…

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Russell Group scraps preferred A-levels list after arts subjects hit | Education

Arts education organisations have welcomed a decision by the Russell Group of research-led universities to scrap its controversial list of preferred A-levels, after long-running criticism that it has contributed to a devaluation of arts subjects. The group’s list of so-called “facilitating subjects”, including maths, English, sciences, languages, history and geography, was originally drawn up to help pupils choose A-levels that would open doors to more degrees at the most selective universities. Critics claim it has resulted in a narrowing of…

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Postcode lottery denies poor A-level students a musical career | Education

Musicians and academics are warning of a crisis in music education as research reveals that in some of the UK’s most-deprived areas not a single student is taking A-level music. The study found a distinct correlation between schools not offering music A-level and wider social deprivation. It says: “The most-deprived areas in the country face significant difficulties as A-level music provision continues to shrink, while across a number of large regions there is no provision at all.” Knowsley, Tower Hamlets…

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Why a good Ofsted report can be bad for GCSE results | Education

Health warning: positive Ofsted ratings may damage GCSE results. This is the shock finding of a study conducted by four universities and two thinktanks which found that parents with children in schools that have received a better-than-expected Ofsted report are much more likely to reduce how much they help their children with their homework. This, in turn, could have a damaging impact on their children’s GCSE results. The researchers from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University…

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Forget Sats – find a true measure of education | Letters | Education

Amanda Spielman may be warning the wrong people about exam anxiety, certainly as far as younger kids are concerned (Ofsted chief says teachers can cause ‘subliminal’ exam anxiety, May 14). My 10-year-old is not worried because I have told him Sats are irrelevant to his life. His secondary school will determine how best he will fit in, based on its own testing, when he gets there in September. I did ask him to do his best in sympathy with the…

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(SPAG) Tests: Spelling, Punctuation And Grammar – Education Article

(SPAG) Tests: Spelling, Punctuation And Grammar | TeacherToolkit 14th May 201914th May 2019 @TeacherToolkit 52 Views Committee for Linguistics in Education, Department for Education, Grammar, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Lancaster University, Memory, National Curriculum, Punctuation, SATs, Testing, vocabulary, Willem B. Hollmann, Year 2 Reading Time: 3 minutes Are teachers supported by the Department for Education to deliver primary tests? In the run-up to SATs, I was contacted by Willem B. Hollmann, Lancaster University from his work with the…

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Teachers assessing pupils could replace formal exams, study says | Education

Assessments by teachers of pupils’ abilities could replace traditional tests and exams such as Sats and GCSEs to reduce costs and “bring joy back to the classroom”, according to new research. In a paper published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, researchers found teacher assessments accurately reflected the ability of their pupils’ performance in later exams in English, maths and science, including A-levels and university admission. The authors said the results “raise questions about the value of the…

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Ofqual is killing off modern foreign language education | Letters | Education

The education secretary is right that exams are “inherently stressful” – but for students taking a modern foreign language (MFL), the stress is disproportionate. They will have to sit excessively difficult exams and accept that their grade may well end up lower than their performance deserves. In a recent BBC survey, 76% of English schools reported that the perception of languages as “difficult” was the main reason behind the drop in pupils studying for MFL exams. Where’s the incentive to…

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Modern language teaching ‘under threat from tough exams’ | Education

The exams regulator in England, Ofqual, is “killing off” modern languages by failing to address the excessive difficulty of language GCSE and A-level exams, according to more than 150 academics. In a letter published in the Guardian, the 152 academics – from 36 universities – warn that the exams are graded too severely and the stress for pupils is “disproportionate”. “They will have to sit excessively difficult exams and accept that their grade may well end up lower than their…

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The Guardian view on shrinking breaks: the right to relax | Editorial | Opinion

Few adults would place shorter break times high up their list of concerns about schools. Some of them may have shone at football but many will remember hours spent pointlessly milling around the playground or, worse, smoking in the toilets? For a minority of children, now as then, breaks are dreadful. If you don’t have many friends, or aren’t part of the group you would like to join, the experience of leaving the classroom to spend time with your peers…

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