Schoolzone blog: Qualifications: the worth vs the value

Qualifications: the worth vs the valueSubscribe to get blog posts by email
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22 Jan 2015

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It was almost certainly Oscar Wilde who described someone as knowing price of everything and the value of nothing.

But Nicky Morgan has trumped this by suggesting that “In future, we could try to link qualifications to tax data too, in order to demonstrate the true worth of certain subjects.”

So, we could show, by monitoring how much income tax people pay and knowing what qualifications they have, which subjects were "worth" studying studying in school.

OK, let's look at, for example, BTECs - in general, not picking out any particular subject. Many pupils take these because they don't have much hope of gaining a GCSE. These students, on the whole, by and large, in the mix, earn less than those who do GCSEs (most of whom go on to A-level etc). So, in Morgan's World, BTECs aren't worth much.

Look at it from the students' point of view (please, Mrs Morgan) - for two years, these students are required to study for external qualifications: if their only option is to study for a BTEC, what will be the effect of telling students that the two years are going to be worthless?

Ditto for "worthless" academic subjects - yes, it would be good to have more maths and science A-level students, but do we want to cut numbers of RE, PE, or whatever Morgan's tracking data tells us are of "low worth"?

She was speaking at BETT, so felt the need (presumably - or her speech writer did) to dream up some good uses of technology. Another was about giving parents access to live assessment data - neither a new idea, nor an attractive one for schools, who always tell us that they want to add commentary and qualify the reports so that parents aren't forever asking questions about data they don't understand.

Come on Mrs Morgan - show us that you have even a tiny particle of understanding of education in schools. Please, just once.




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