As we continue our headlong rush into the future, are we teaching our children everything they need to know to be successful going forward? It’s not only the actual material that we are teaching that should be put to question, but also the way we test that this knowledge is absorbed. Many educators, as well as members of the government, are beginning to wonder if we are being too structured in our way of teaching and testing. With our world constantly evolving, chances are, we need to have a new metric by which students not only learn, but are graded for what they have learned.
Going Back and Forth
Many felt that the old style O level exams were irreparably flawed. Students from London, or any city or village across the UK were perceived as using an antiquated and obsolete testing system. As a result, the GCSE was introduced, and was heralded as the proper way to grade students. Of course, as we’ve come to discover, this system also had its own major drawbacks. The ability to take the GCSE exams over and over again, (as well as the A level exams) allowed students the opportunity to ultimately get the grade that that not only they wanted, but which universities expected from them in order to be admitted. Was this really the best way to test every student’s understanding of the course material? The general consensus was that it wasn’t and so the O level exams returned.
Acknowledging the Challenge
David Willetts, the UK Minister for Universities and Science, not long ago conceded in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that university courses that require a certain amount of hands-on knowledge, such as science and engineering, are often delivered with too much emphasis on books, without very much practical application. It’s a keen observation, and chances are he’s spot on. As we boldly advance our knowledge of technology, be it in medical science, engineering in general, or even the latest technologies and processes surrounding everything about the Internet, just reading information from books won’t do. What students really need is to be able to apply the theoretical alongside the practical, gaining important insights into how and why things work and letting them unleash their creativity and how to apply it in practical ways.
While the field of science continues to evolve exponentially, some of its basic underpinnings, such as maths, have remained fairly constant for some time now. Arguably, the only areas where mathematical formulas are being developed are in complex fields such as astrophysics, molecular biology and even basic quantum physics. But for anyone wanting to excel in science or engineering, having a solid foundation in maths is essential. Fortunately, there are tutors in west London who are able to help any student that is struggling to fully understand their course material. Maths tutors in west London can provide different levels of training to allow any student to ultimately master their coursework.
Preparing for the Future
Hopefully, our government will not bow to the kind of pressures that an election year can exert and will not try to come up with some quick fix to our education and testing challenges. What is needed is a well-thought-through and comprehensive solution which will allow our students to compete on a global basis with their peers, so that the UK can retain its position as a leader in the fields of science and technology.