Hugh writes of "Test Prep" books:
These all had an immediate goal, and could be dispensed with, would be dispensed with, as soon as that goal was met -- the goal of making you or, if you were old enough, your child. ready to take. and able to pass, whatever exam might be looming up -- the PSAT, the SAT, the LSAT, the GMAT and the GSAT an exam in large part multiply-choiced, but also sometimes requiring a bite-sized essay (four paragraphs is more than enough, time's up, turn in your exams please) or two just to see if you could indeed write an English sentence.
Were he a sixteen-year-old English schoolboy, Hugh would just have failed English GCSE, for writing outside the parameters of the Key Competences required for his Learning Deliverables. The dumbing down of Britain, a direct result of the destruction of the grammar schools, continues apace. All must have prizes, save the clever ones. From The Telegraph:
Bright schoolchildren are struggling in exams after being asked to "wrestle with questions of crippling simplicity", according to the headmaster of Eton College, Tony Little.
Many are left agonising over answers because they cannot believe the standard demanded in GCSEs and A-levels is so low, said Mr Little.
He called for a cap to be placed on the number of GCSEs pupils are forced to take amid fears they are having a "dragging negative effect" on pupils.
It came as leading independent and state schools heads met in London yesterday(WED) to discuss setting up a group to champion the very brightest young people.
The move followed controversial comments by Prof Adrian Smith, one of the Government's top education officials, who said last month that Labour's school reforms focused on "the masses" at the expense of the most able pupils.
Yesterday, Manchester Grammar became the first top independent schools to announce it was dropping GCSEs altogether because they were too easy.
Martin Stephen, high master of St Paul's, said heads from "all sectors and types of secondary schools" shared a "deep concern at what is seen as the comparative neglect of academic education and the needs of a significant number of our gifted and talented children".
Mr Little told how one boy at Eton, the £28,000-a-year boarding school in Windsor, gained five A grades at A-level, but failed a sixth exam altogether.
Eton sent the "ungraded" paper to two university dons who said the work was of the standard normally achieved in a first class honours degree.
Mr Little said the boy was given almost no marks because he used "intelligence and flair" and refused to answer the question in the formulaic way demanded by examiners.
Speaking at the conference in the City of London, Mr Little said: "At GCSE I have seen highly able students wrestle with questions of such crippling simplicity because they cannot believe that there isn't more to it than appears. It is an approach that makes no allowance for lateral thinking, for creative extension or wit."
He added: "The particular mindset our education system has developed about assessment encourages the belief that the effective way to measure a young person's progress is to atomise their performance, to break down their understanding of a subject into small measureable units."
There is no Unit of Competence for wit.