So, I am currently sitting in a classroom where thirty-odd fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds are writing their controlled assessments.

The new GCSE syllabus calls for controlled assessments rather than written coursework. The final result is just the same – often a bit scruffier – and the process is designed to prevent plagairism and unauthorised work (when a parent or sibling writes the coursework in lieu of the student). Essentially, it means that the coursework must be done in school, in exam conditions. That’s a nice thing for personal time to catch up on marking, although does mean a massive shake-up in how teachers have been able to guarantee students pass. Essentially, it has turned coursework lessons into invigilated exams.

The personal implications are interesting. The rules state that the controlled assessment must be completed in silence. I really struggle to work in silence: I much prefer either music or the white noise of coffee shops. Thinking on it, I suppose that it captures and silences my otherwise reaching subconscious mind. On the other hand, my girlfriend struggles to work unless there is perfect silence.

Rules is rules, and I understand that. Even if alternate conditions are allowed, there must be regulations to enforce that there is no disruption.

My concern is this. By forcing one set of rules to a number of students, are we restricting the creativity of most?


One thought on “Volume

  1. That sounds like a recipe for disaster for some. What happened to coursework being a chance for those who struggle with exams to excel? Although I’m poor at creating my own optimum working environment (I find songs and silence equally distraction) nothing compares to my inability to settle down when faced with a hushed classroom/school hall. I’m one of the lucky ones- I’d get frustrated/doodle/nap for most of an exam and scribble something A grade in the last half hour- but what about people who need something other than other students’ pen scratches, squeaky chairs and mutterings to produce their absolute best?

    Interesting subject- hope they all do okay either way!

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