Education secretary praises traditional exams as he explains the philosophy behind his shakeup of GCSEs and A-levels Peter Walker The Guardian, Wednesday 14 November 2012 Learning facts by rote should be a central part of the school experience, the education secretary, Michael Gove, will argue on Wednesday in a speech which praises traditional exams to the extent of arguing they helped spur the US civil rights struggle.
In the address, titled In Praise of Tests, Gove describes the ideological underpinning to his planned shakeup of GCSEs and A-levels, a philosophy which will further delight educational traditionalists but is likely to prompt criticisms that he is seeking a return to the teaching styles of the 1940s and 50s.
Competitive, difficult exams for which pupils must prepare by memorising large amounts of facts and concepts will promote motivation, solidify knowledge and guarantee standards, Gove is to tell the Independent Academies Association, a trade body for academy schools.
“Exams matter because motivation matters,” Gove will say, according to extracts of the speech provided by his department.
“Humans are hard-wired to seek out challenges. And our self-belief grows as we clear challenges we once thought beyond us.
“If we know tests are rigorous, and they require application to pass, then the experience of clearing a hurdle we once considered too high spurs us on to further endeavours and deeper learning.” …