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Truth of the grades fiasco

The Westminster government's obsession with "standards", combined with ministers' determination to enhance their reputations on the back of raising standards, have served to change teachers', heads' and parents' thinking about what goes on in classrooms.

The curriculum and its assessment, rather than being a source of structure and support for learning, have been turned into a measuring device. Pupils are expected to accrete levels andor grades so that schools can be held accountable for progress against politically invented "standards".

This is not learning, but a process that has been turned into a race for grades, which does not take into account the complexity of individuals' learning styles with necessary regressions as well as progressions. This process has produced the exam fiasco as it was destined to do when education handed its philosophy over to grading rather than learning.

Bill Boyle, School of Education, University of Manchester.

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