A recent article in the Times Education Supplement points out that the focus in schools on literacy makes it difficult for those with other talents to show what they can do. I believe the problem is worse that that – the very bright, scientifically minded kids who hate writing and analysing poems but love fiddling and messing with real things, are turned off learning and can be labelled with ADHD because they need to be doing stuff instead of listening to stuff. This problem extends beyond school, where “writing about” scores more points than being able to do something. Access to higher education is on the basis of performance in written exams – now even more so since the practical element of many exams has been removed by the toxic Govean changes.
A friend’s son, hugely gifted in 3D visualisation and practical hands on skills to make or mend anything, struggled in school as the requirement to show everything in written form to get the marks meant he hovered near the bottom. He did get to university at some point to study design, and was brilliant on the actual process of designing using computers and other means, however he failed his second year because he couldn’t get his ideas onto an exam aper in the required format in the required time.
This has an effect on all aspects of society, where being able to bullshit on paper, and parade your grades from written exams, gets you the interview whether or not you can actually do the job. “Evidence of doing” has become more important than actual doing. Many children are failed by this – not just the potential engineers who never get to do.
Tens of thousands of potential engineers missed due to exams’ focus on literacy
Helen Ward 25th May 2017