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New exam board technology could encourage teaching to the test

An exam board is developing new technology to give teachers customised guidance on what to teach based on the previous exam performance of their pupils, The TES has learnt.

In his first interview since becoming managing director of Edexcel, Ziggy Liaquat revealed the board was considering turning its existing results analysis service into a hi-tech teaching tool.

And while one heads' union leader believes the development could be attractive to teachers, he fears it will encourage teaching to the test.

All three of the big exam boards now offer an electronic results analysis service offering schools and teachers detailed breakdowns of how their pupils performed.

Edexcel, which pioneered the idea, now aims to take it a step further by integrating it with the kind of online curriculum teaching tools already offered by its parent company, Pearson Education.

Mr Liaquat said: "If you're a teacher of geography, you're presenting me with this (exam results) data and there's this analysis that sits with it that says, 'You've done well on this question', 'You've done this well against local schools.'

"But what is really meaningful is how you can analyse and present that data in the context of the curriculum, because I need to take that information, embed it in my teaching and move on."

Martin Ward, deputy general secretary of heads' union the Association of School and College Leaders, said he thought such a teaching tool "could be of value to teachers".

But he added: "It will perhaps extend the tendency to teach to the test.

"It is important that teachers feel able to teach what their students need to know, not just what they need to know to pass an exam."

Interview, pages 18-19.

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