Best Practice

An examination nightmare...

Michael Gove’s obsession with exam-based, terminal assessment will seriously disadvantage many students, says teacher Simon Pearson. He argues why and looks at overcoming some of the barriers that students have to this style of learning.

Do you have a recurring nightmare that wakes you in the small hours from time to time? Mine is being forced to resit the exams I took at school and college.

I was an SEN learner with physical disabilities and dyslexia (which wasn’t formally diagnosed until I was 42). Sitting an exam felt like I was taking part in a group skydive where everyone had a functioning parachute except me. I believed that the rest were off on an exhilarating experience while I was plummeting down to earth without a lifeline.

Others probably felt like me, but I did not realise it at the time. My ability to perform in exams was hampered by poor memory skills, slow handwriting and a lack of understanding of how to study effectively, all exacerbated by fear.

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