'They've all gone to Colchester Zoo': Stakeholder views on the challenges of delivering more flexible testing for national high-stakes examinations in England

This research investigated the case for more flexible testing for national high-stakes examinations in England through a series of focus groups with teachers, pupils and examiners. Sample sizes were generally small, and the focus was on the examination of GCSE Science in the state sector, so care should be taken in generalising the findings beyond this qualification and sector. The consensus appears to be that more dates for examinations throughout the school year would be welcome as they would allow teachers to plan more effectively and reduce stress on pupils. More flexibility would allow teachers to manage the different demands placed on different academic streams more effectively, and build in contingencies when pupils progress at a different rate than anticipated. There was no appetite whatsoever for flexibility at an individual pupil level, however, as this was felt to be a recipe for chaos. Rather than leading to no child being left behind it was felt that it would be impossible to timetable and teach, leaving pupils without adequate support. The key concern of teachers, which was not entirely shared by pupils and examiners, was that changes introduced to enhance flexibility could impact on the security of the examinations.

Export to citation manager (RIS File)

Share this page