The Communication Agency

A new frontier for tears and frustration

Our associate looks at the latest national scandal, an examination that’s resulted in tears and national outrage. He sees it has a new frontier for the media.

For as long as I can remember rating examination papers as either too hard or soft has been a postscript of the exam season.

What’s new, it seems, is the threshold national media coverage following this week’s year 11 NCEA level one maths exam. We are told that students broke down in tears; and parents, teachers and their principals are outraged.

Yet today we read students should have been able to answer the questions, according to two experts who place blame with teachers for failing to properly prepare their students for the exam.

Let’s be clear, I was (am) no maths whizz myself, but surely exams should be “testing”. That’s their purpose.

I expect 2016 represents the new frontier for nationally reported tears and anger following tough exams, and from now on tears and national outrage will become the norm.

On the positive side, I wonder whether this media coverage is the reason three Auckland Grammar boys on this morning’s bus each had his notes out. Never have I witnessed this before, but it put me in mind of my own cramming habits, for better or worse.

Exam post-mortems are part and parcel of the very system itself. However I don’t believe we need the PR exercise of tears, frustration and national outrage after every tough exam, when quite possibly private notes from offended principals to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) would equally do the trick.

I fear that students, parents, teachers and schools will only be happy when everyone’s pass mark is 100%. Perhaps then it will be time for real outrage.

Copyright: <a href=''>zinkevych / 123RF Stock Photo</a>


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