Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Get back in that box!

Apparently a 16-year-old was warned by her school that she should avoid giving signs of original thought in her GCSEs. The Guardian carries an interview with her headteacher, Richard Cairns:

Speaking today, Mr Cairns said examiners often marked papers in subjects they knew little about and that he warned his pupils they would often know more about the subject than the marker. He said: "The very brightest are definitely constrained by the exam marking schemes."

He said exam boards awarded the highest marks for prescriptive answers containing key words, meaning a pupil who displayed originality was penalised. Mr Cairns said the problem affected all exam boards. He said markers rewarded children for thinking "mechanistically" rather than "outside of the box".

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