My Guardian piece this month is on cheating and the temptation teachers face in both coursework and the exam hall to bend the rules.
Despite what the commenters think, none of this is based in fantasy. I haven’t even used the most egregious examples. As another commenter pointed out, what happens in some places is far worse.
I’m also not saying that cheating is widespread, justifiable or ‘allowed’. What I was pointing out is that:
(a) the exam boards do not always help teachers make good decisions, and
(b) if you do find yourself in a situation where you want to whistleblow (as this commenter did) then it is not straightforward. The processes are often hidden and even now I have no idea what assurances would be given – either to students grades, my anonymity, people’s jobs.
That so many people have reacted with a chorus of “this is absolutely ludicrous” bothers me intensely. Not because I worry about being lampooned, but because that sort of collective blindness is insidious. Imagine if you’ve read this piece, and then you DO see someone dropping keywords into an instruction speech – are you likely to speak up knowing that the most common reaction is going to be a dismissive “I’m sorry but never in twenty years have I seen this happen”? Even if you’ve never seen cheating, that people are acting so incredulously suggests a form of cognitive dissonance which is precisely what will enable cheating to continue. We sometimes don’t see it, because we don’t want to.
Anyway, I shall continue to monitor the comments, follow-up blogs and conversations. And, as per last month, I’ll round everything up in a “What we learned” post in a couple of weeks’ time.