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Saturday 25 July 2015

Toby Young Fails GCSE History

There were many raised eyebrows this week as the Mail suggested that, even in the brave new educational world ushered in by Michael “Oiky” Gove, GCSE exams were being “dumbed down”. The screaming headline, “Spot the difference! How new 'tougher' history GCSE exam will ask pupils to compare these two images of Parliament... with extra points for pointing out presence of women and ethnic minorities”, said it all.
What was that about Dumbing Down?

And the inmates of Northcliffe House wanted readers to know that their chosen party of Government was unhappy about the situation: “Schools minister Nick Gibb said sample papers submitted by the exam boards were ‘far below’ the standard he expects. He attacked the boards for failing to raise standards and making questions too easy”. Gibb did not, for some reason, explain himself. But, for one Tory supporter, that was enough.

The loathsome Toby Young immediately took to Twitter in condemnation, telling anyone out there who had not hit the Mute button “Dumbed-down History GCSE exam asks students to play ‘spot the difference’. My 7-year-old could get a C. Pathetic”. Sadly for Tobes, a perusal of the examination paper - taken together with the marking notes - shows that he has not acquired the sobriquet “Captain Bellend” for nothing.
To get a Grade C pass, candidates must achieve an answer standard around Level 3. But this is a one-size-fits-all examination paper, and some questions do not require a Level 3 standard of competence to be demonstrated. The question with the “Spot the difference” images of Parliament is one of those. The marking notes clearly show that there are Level 1 and Level 2 answer standards. Getting a C involves the later questions.

Take the very next question, “Explain the significance of the signing of [the] Magna Carta”. Here is what the examiner is looking for in a Level 2 answer: “eg It was significant at the time because the barons were pleased to have obtained agreement from the king of their rights. They renewed their oaths of allegiance to him. Copies of the Charter were drawn up to distribute throughout the kingdom. Although it did not prevent the barons going to war with King John it did become the basis for peace between them and subsequent kings, such as Henry III”. That, Tobes, is not yet good enough for a C.

To achieve Level 3 - and a C standard - the marking notes require that the candidate “Develops more than one of the aspects in Level 2”. Perhaps Tobes - and, indeed, the likes of Nick Gibb - would like to explain how requiring that in order to get a C grade is “dumbing down”. And I have one more question for Toby Young.

Tobes runs the West London Free School. So one might expect that, even if he does not understand the structure of the questions, and the marking scheme, in an exam paper, he would be able to consult a specialist teacher who could explain it to him. That suggests either lack of communication, or that Tobes is just being wilfully ignorant.

They don’t call him Captain Bellend for nothing. Because Toby Young is indeed a bellend.


Anonymous said...


It WOULD be a fucking "Toby" wouldn't it.

And Gove has the kind of kipper you'd never tire of punching. If he stopped moving from jobsworth to jobsworth, that is.

Disgusting people, even by neocon "standards."

Anonymous said...

"How new 'tougher' history GCSE exam will ask pupils to compare these two images of Parliament... with extra points for pointing out presence of women and ethnic minorities"

Typical Daily Mail dog whistle coverage. The inclusion of female and minority members of Parliament in modern times, compared to the past, is most certainly of historical importance. Yet the paper would love you to think that points are being handed out just for being politically correct. YOUCURRANTMEKITAAAAARP.

Unknown said...

And which government brought in the one-size-fits-all GCSE (along with the whizzo idea of having competing exam boards - but not taking this idea to its logical conclusion)?

That's right - it was a Conservative government.