Exam Factories

Your iphone was made in a factory in China.  350,000 people work there, apparently.  Some of the people do varied, interesting and skilled jobs but most do repetitive and menial tasks to a high standard, hour after hour.  There are strict quality quality control checks.  

The end product is amazing.  It is the apotheosis of the design process and brings joy to millions. 10% of the world owns one.  The rest use Samsung or some such; also made in factories. You wouldn’t leave your house without one. 

To engineer success in students at exam time takes a similar discipline.  Students need healthy routines - eating, sleeping, exercise, parental support, revision.  Teachers need to make sure the children have been taught the right curriculum and taught it well, in the right order.  This doesn’t magically appear - this is part of a teaching process.  

On exam days, someone has to check the students are on site.  Teachers welcoming the students at 7am for extra revision and prepping them to be the best version of themselves in the exam on the day.  Pastoral staff on the phones to parents, ready to ensure that students aren't late or absent.  The exam officer, on guard so the exam papers are safe, ready and tamper free.  It doesn’t happen by accident.  It happens as the result of the repetition of rather dull, established routines, coupled with high expectations. 

Teachers, support staff, students, have all worked so hard for this moment.  Most of the success or failure of the students will not be down to some creative genius they display on the day of their final exam.  It will be the culmination of years of painstaking practice and repetition. The accumulation of thousands of small steps that have built their skills, knowledge and confidence. 

Welcome to the exam factory. 

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