Meaningless standards row

27th August 2004 at 01:00
As the annual row over falling standards in education begins again, I have been reminded of last year's television programme, That'll Teach 'Em.

Pupils predicted to excel at GCSE were brought to earth as they failed to pass traditional O-level questions.

What struck me was that the syllabus and expectations have changed so much that this experiment resembles a farce. It is like teaching a child to speak German, and then giving them an exam in Dutch. Or training them for the long jump, then entering them for the high jump.

Completely new teaching skills are used to encourage new skills from the pupils. My exams, for example, required hours of memorisation, and faultless regurgitation. Pupils today are trained to analyse and think through problems.

Is it fair to take away the pupils' and teachers' sense of achievement by comparing their results to a system that has no place in our modern education?

Karen Stephens

Lidgett Close, Scawby


Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today