Tables give new cause for concern

It’s good to see Bradford Council improving GCSE performances in the school league tables released yesterday, but the drop down the table in terms of A-Level results is a cause for concern.

Although still very much in the bottom half of the table in both categories, at least the GCSE results are moving in the right direction, and particular praise should be given for Carlton Bolling College, which has made it into the list of the top 200 most-improved schools.

But there must be national and local concern about the A-Level results, with the national picture showing an overall decline in figures, and Bradford slipping further down the league table for its results.

And it remains to be seen whether the reforms announced yesterday by Education Secretary Michael Gove will result in any improvements.

His changes will see examinations play a much bigger part in qualifications achieved by students, and we would question whether that is the best way to go forward.

The idea of one examination at the end of two years of hard work and study counting for everything would be a huge mistake.

It penalises students who are unable to retain masses of information by rote. Not everybody has the sort of mind that is able to take in facts and figures and spout them out at will; that doesn’t mean they are any less capable a student.

A combination of tests, coursework and regular assessment is a far better way of measuring students’ achievements rather than everything depending on a one-off exam dependant on remembering information from up to two years previously.

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