University educationalist on social mobility and A-Level proposals

Posted by hct16 at Nov 14, 2012 05:21 PM |
University of Leicester education researcher contributes to qualification reforms debate following release of Alan Milburn report

Following the release of the former Labour minister Alan Milburn's latest report on social mobility in October, Dr Phil Wood a lecturer in our School of Education has discussed what the Milburn report suggests in the media.

He argues that:

"In his latest report on social mobility, Alan Milburn suggests that universities are failing to spot academic potential among applicants from underprivileged backgrounds.  Yet universities also struggle to see potential when the examination system consistently fails to highlight it.

"The latest examination reforms are as deficient as the system that we currently have in place.That is not to say that examinations are not in need of change. One of the problems with modularisation and allowing students to do endless re-takes is that learning becomes instrumental, with the focus on short-term outcomes rather than the process of learning.

"The ‘ABac’, as suggested by Michael Gove,  with a mixture of courses in both arts and sciences and the introduction of a ‘dissertation’, goes some way to addressing the problem, yet will still be dominated by three-hour, end of course exams.

"We are left with a lazy and uninformed policy which will not show universities – or employers – what a candidate knows and is capable of.

"If we want to understand the degree to which young people have learned and their potential, then a wide spectrum of assessment types are needed, that correspond to the way we learn."

A fuller version of Dr Wood’s views has been published in an article in Sec Ed, the professional journal for secondary education teachers.

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