Danish bacon!!!!

November 4, 2009 at 4:55 pm 2 comments

internet prohibition

A couple of weeks ago I tweeted about my 12 year old son having been told by his science teacher that the homework he had handed in was good, but that he would have got more marks if he found out more stuff from the internet.

The next day he came home with the prohibition notice pictured above. ‘DISQUALIFICATION’ if caught in exams with mobile phones, ipods, MP3/MP4 players or any products with an electronics communication/storage device or digital facility.

So if students use certain digital tools to gather information in the first place, as they are encouraged to do, they are disqualified from using them in an exam situation. All of which highlights one of the big problems with exams. If you happen not to be able to remember stuff you won’t do well. This is nothing to do with understanding. It’s simply memory testing, which isn’t real knowledge.

How refreshing then that in Denmark they are considering allowing wired computers with internet access to be used during exams ( http://tinyurl.com/otvrhw). This is to allow students to look up relevant facts during the exam.

Of course, it is immediately pointed out that:

“There are a number of potential pitfalls, however, not least protecting against plagiarism and the problem of students lifting information from online sources to pad out work”.

It seems that in Denmark, as well as here in the UK we assume young people will want to cheat, so guarding against this becomes an overriding concern. How trusting of our young people is that? There are all sorts of ways of guarding against this, and I do hope that these concerns don’t get in the way of this enlightened initiative.

Can’t see it happening in the UK though, not for many light years anyway. Apart from the fact that our mistrust of young people is very deep rooted, we just love exams, labouring as we do under the misapprehension that somehow exam results indicate something of a child’s understanding or abilities and can be used as a means of perpetuating a two tier system of haves and have nots.


Entry filed under: Childrens, Education, Exams, Students, Testing.

Ditch the acronyms (DtA)! andwriting and spelchekin

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rockjimford  |  November 13, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Very thought provoking post. Made me think about the underlying assumptions with exams and reasons why sailed through some, deliberately flunked others (peer group pressure?)..

    Seems like a debate about the purpose and role of testing is a great debate to enact. Difficult but necessary in current climate with a government obsessed with and driven by (mostly failing) managerial methods..

  • 2. Mick Landmann  |  November 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Hi Jim. An interesting aspect to the debate.

    I had a discussion with a mate of mine at the weekend who sends his kids to private school. He feels that exams are necessary as a measure of a persons abilities. I went through all the usual arguments about how testing simply tests memory and not knowledge, how some people get nervous in exams so their results are not a true measure of anything, how because of the way the system works kids taking the same exam might be different ages by up to a year etc.. etc.. he agreed with me on all these points but…….still thinks exams are necessary as a measure of a persons abilities!!!!!!!! AARGH.

    This is very deep rooted and will run and run I fear.


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