This is an unsurprising, though devastating, result.
Our “race to the middle” culture which has been brought about by the measure of success in secondary schools being a broad count of A* – C grades, has unfortunately encouraged teachers to ignore their brightest students, and focus instead on those on the D/C border.
Like a government that might target it’s policies at marginal constituencies, teachers have targeted the “marginal’ students at the detriment of those children who are sure-fire C’s, B’s or A’s, but who are not yet fulfilling their potential.
Now that attention is being drawn to this problem, let us hope that it will lead to a shift in government educational policy.
Euclid (Book 1, Definition 22)
“Of quadrilateral figures, a square is that which is both equilateral and right-angled; an oblong that which is right-angled but not equilateral; a rhombus that which is equilateral but not right-angled; and a rhomboid that which has opposite sides and angles equal to one another but is neither equilateral nor right angled. And let quadrilaterals other than these be called trapezia.”
Different Types of Quadrilaterals
RECTANGLE is a four-sided shape with four right angles, and includes:
SQUARE which has four right angles AND four equal sides
OBLONG which has four right angles BUT two pairs of equal sides (not four equal sides)
RHOMBUS is a four-sided shape with four equal sides BUT no right-angles
RHOMBOID is a four-sided shape with two pairs of equal sides, and opposite angles are equal (also a PARALLELOGRAM)
TRAPEZIUM is a four-sided shape with one pair of parallel sides (called a TRAPEZOID in America!)
TRAPEZOID is a four-sided shape with no parallel sides (called a TRAPEZIUM in America!)
There has been some disagreement in terms of where the UK fits in with other countries for performance in maths. This current report is encouraging in the sense that our position is not as bad as we have suspected it to be.
However, we are still dropping down the international league, which cannot be a good thing. As we are now part of a more globalised economy, it matters more how our children compare with other children in the world. We cannot be content to just consider national statistics, and achievement in the context of our own nation.
It really saddens me when I hear again and again of students being coerced into spending Years 10 and 11 at high school focusing on taking and retaking Maths GCSE in the hopes of getting a grade C and then being ignored by the maths teacher for the rest of their time at school.
While I understand the need to ensure that the quality of education in schools is adequate, bland statistic-gathering does not ensure this. All we have achieved by monitoring the number of A*-C’s at each school, is an urge for teachers to get every child into that target group.
No matter if a student with A* potential achieves only a grade B – the teachers will be more chastised for the E-grade student who was only pulled up to a D.
There are no easy answers, so I won’t pretend to have them. But I do see many children wasting their potential and ruling out future careers, because their teachers have become desensitised through over-bureaucratic teaching assessment methods.
It really is the case that parenting is the true differentiator. If a child’s teachers cannot see his/her potential, then the only hope is for the parents to see it and nuture it.
An interesting article giving the teacher’s perspective on engaging students from The Guardian.