We should tolerate intolerance should we?


My first post title that looks a bit like an antimetabole!

I have just read this excellent post. It is by a teacher commenting on Ofqual’s recent report on the GCSE English ‘fiasco’ which continues to reverberate amongst English schools.

The theme is about tolerance in the moderation of marking by teachers of GCSE English, a critical examination for 16 year olds in England and other parts of the UK. This is because it is a key entry qualification for employment and impacts on school performance measures.

It made me think about the general issue of tolerating intolerance.

Education regulators such as Ofqual, Ofsted (really an inspectorate but it has a regulatory function) and Offa play a role within society to help level out playing fields, to use an educational analogy.

They do this by judging identified tolerance levels within their particular areas  and making a decision for us all on how ‘normal’ the distribution should be. This is to prevent extreme or irregular clumps of performance having undue influence on the whole system.

Unless that is, these outliers shift the whole curve in the direction of general improvement for the whole system, which everyone likes! By contrast any perceived downward shifts are thoroughly disapproved of, which is why in England the Minister has decided to replace GCSEs with a new English Baccalaureate Certificate.

The Latin origin of tolerate is the verb ‘tolerare’ which literally meant ‘to bear’ or ‘to endure’. So if regulatory agencies become unbearable do we endure them?

Perhaps like Caesars they need to be removed if they become intolerant.

Tolerant or intolerant?

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One thought on “We should tolerate intolerance should we?

  1. Pingback: Not another educational acronym? But this time it’s different … | behrfacts

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