Targets create crooks!

A graph to show percentage of students achievi...
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It appears the police service aren’t the only ones who have been cooking the books in a vain attempt to meet political targets set by government. No surprise there then!

England’s exam system is “diseased” and “almost corrupt”, says a former government adviser in a book on Labour’s education policy. (BBC News)

According to the BBC report, A former director at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, Mick Waters, says “exam boards are conniving in the dumbing-down of school exams.”

Isn’t this exactly what the public and organisations like the CBI have been complaining about for years?

In Reinventing Schools, Reforming Teaching, Mr Waters says that originally he had been sceptical about the widespread claims which he thought were “unfair”. After some time looking at the situation from within, he has come up with the exact same result the rest of us managed to achieve, without his insight?

It is refreshing that now an ‘expert’ insider has had the balls to raise his head above the parapet, those in the corridors of power are actually prepared (or forced) to look more deeply into the claims.

Irrespective of any individual brownie point hunting (and there will be some) within the education system, too many targets are never a good thing. Moreover, placing too much reliance upon those targets, as a measure of organisational performance, in general developes and achieves contrary results. Put targets on the desk of a manager and he/she will move hell and high water to prove they have actually attained (or bettered) them. “Please Sir, Please Sir, look how good I am Sir and what I’ve done”.

Place too much reliance upon a target driven performance culture, without applying rigid and intelligent overseeing management systems and you create problems. Many of the figures simply won’t be worth the graphs displaying them, which is due to; imaginative accounting, massaging and/or manipulation of statistics and sometimes even, out-and-out lies. Trust me I’ve witnessed it happening!

Perhaps the people within the QQA (like many of those in ACPO) have never heard the idiom; Be sure your sin will find you out!

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