Wednesday, 22 October 2014

New Poem: Exam Marking

Here at NormCheck, we are looking closely at the principles

of exam marking. We regret that many people are under the

mistaken impression that exams serve the purpose of enabling

individuals amass a specific amount of knowledge in an

important field relevant to what will be that person’s life beyond

and after the exam. We work very hard to eliminate as much

‘usefulness’ from the exam system as we can. We are also

extremely vigilant in eliminating what progressives have called

‘transferrable skills’. In the world outside the classroom, it may

well be the case that people’s ability to interpret data in unexpected

ways, to invent new ways of doing things, to know how to

investigate something unfamiliar, to co-operate with colleagues

and strangers - are all useful but that’s of no concern of ours.

At NormCheck we are putting a great deal of effort into ensuring

that education - that’s to say exams - are solely concerned with

core facts. Luckily, at the Department for Instruction, we have

people who know what these core facts are. They have all studied

eitherPPE, pure economics or law - and, thankfully, all had some

experience of a private education.

So, to recap, he exams themselves are not for the purpose of the

individual to acquire and retain anything useful. They are solely

for the purpose of us to grade, select and segregate people. This

is why exams aren’t tests of what people know on a given day. They

are a means by which we can draw a line across a group of people

and say, all of you above that line are a success, all of you below

that line are a fail. What we do at NormCheck is move the line.

That’s our job. Each year, we meet up, have an extremely nice

lunch and spend the afternoon working out where we’ll put the line.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with whether this or that pupil

knows anything or not. It is entirely to do with where we decide to

put the line. This depends on such things as what the Secretary of

State at the Department for Instruction thinks, which itself is usually

dependent on what the Daily Mail thinks.