A BBC News investigation has exposed widespread cheating by teachers in exams in England in order to raise school ratings on league tables. The revelations follow a stream of cheating incidents across US schools this year.
These revelations are a harbinger of what can be expected in Australia with both the Government and the Labor Opposition committed to forcing schools to publish their results for national literacy and numeracy tests. Publishing school results inevitably leads to league tables and immense pressure to improve school rankings.
Cheating is an easy way to deliver better school results. The BBC report says that teachers blame constant testing and the importance placed on league tables for the pressure to improve results for the cheating.
One unnamed teacher from Leeds said ready-made answers were kept in a filing cabinet.
These were used by teachers to fill in missing gaps in pupils’ coursework without the students’ knowledge. Another teacher told the BBC how he pointed over pupils’ shoulders when they made mistakes in an exam.
A teacher from Dorset told the BBC the pressure came directly from senior teaching staff.
“I was told they had to get a C grade no matter what, which I did, which was cheating.”
He said he told his pupils exactly what to write, but to change a few words to make it look like their own work.
A survey by the Teacher Support Network, a teachers’ welfare charity, found the majority of respondents thought cheating was commonplace. About two-thirds of teachers in a small survey said they personally help students “more than is appropriate” in order to improve exam results.
The former head of the Office for Education Standards (Ofsted), Chris Woodward, told the BBC that cheating by teachers is so extensive that the league tables used by parents to differentiate between schools have become unreliable.
“It makes a mockery of the league tables if one school is behaving professionally and another school is offering the kind of support where the teacher actually does the work for the child.”
The full BBC News report is available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/6918805.stm