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.