Extra marks for exam day 'stress'

  TopCat® 18:17 24 Mar 2009

I don't know what other forum members think about this spiralling annual rise in extra 'stress' marks, but I feel that it does not give our youngsters any good grounding in facing up to life as an adult. What say you on this modern trend? TC. click here

  canarieslover 18:27 24 Mar 2009

Wish these marks had been around when I was at school, I might have qualified for Cambridge. I don't know where the stress comes in nowadays, they don't have to dodge blackboard erasers or adjust the books down the seat of the trousers when due for a caning. Easy life! They should have marks deducted.

  Forum Editor 18:36 24 Mar 2009

that a human being is a bit like a racing car, it performs best when it's slightly stressed - all parts bearing an equal strain.

Stress isn't the problem, it's knowing how to deal with it, but nowadays there seems to be a growing feeling that nobody has to be stressed by anything at all. It's one of the reasons we're not the influential nation we used to be - we're too busy worrying about our personal stress levels all the time.

  Charence 19:03 24 Mar 2009

Surely the 'playing field' would be more level if nobody got awarded extra 'stress' marks. The article itself mentions that there are more people getting the marks because more of them are aware of it, so if not everybody knows or applies for it, isn't it just better to make sure nobody gets special treatment?

1-5% is unlikely to make much of a difference though. Some people seem to get extra time as well.. there is a lot one can do in an extra 20 minutes..

Some of the reasons are funny though, illness of another candidate, stress or anxiety. Doesn't almost everyone taking an exam feel a little stressed or anxious? Back to your original question TC, I wonder if your boss would accept those things as reasons for missed deadlines..

  Kevscar1 19:07 24 Mar 2009

fourm member
and how are you going to know that they genuinely had a headache or were faking it

  Forum Editor 19:12 24 Mar 2009

we arrived in the school hall to be told that one of our fellow students had committed suicide that morning, rather than face what he thought would be a humiliating failure.

We were all deeply shocked, and had to sit through the exam paper in that state - I shall never forget it. Stress affects people in many different ways, and obviously if someone is genuinely ill it should be taken into account.

The BBC didn't emulate the tabloid press by the way, its report made it quite clear that "Special consideration can cover issues such as bereavement, but also headaches, stress or hay fever." which is perfectly correct.

  Charence 19:13 24 Mar 2009

I was a bit slow typing there.. so it doesn't include stress.. that makes it a bit better.

I think people who genuinely have disabilities do get other ways to ensure they demonstrate their abilities and don't actually rely on the 'stress' marks being handed out here.

What probably isn't useful is giving extra points for small problems. e.g. Hay-fever, I get this every year, but I just take some tissues, water and medicine with me to the exam.

  Jim Thing 20:22 24 Mar 2009

Surely this 'stress-relief allowance' is just another facet of the 'no child must fail' culture (which, in turn, is a branch of 'every child wins a prize').

It brings to mind a story told a few weeks ago by Chris Woodhead (ex-head of education watchdog OFSTED) in his weekly newspaper column. It seems Woodhead had once sat at the back of a class, monitoring a young teacher's performance, when the teacher asked a boy to explain, in his own words, part of the lesson the class had just sat through. The boy mumbled and stumbled his way through what amounted to a demonstration of the fact that he hadn't understood a word of it, but when he'd finished the teacher said "That was excellent, Jimmy. Well done!"

After the class had been dismissed, Woodhead took the teacher aside and asked why she hadn't pointed out the boy's errors and offered to help him understand. He said she looked at him aghast and explained that she would never dream of criticising a pupil in front of his classmates, as the pupil might develop an inferiority complex.

In my opinion TopCat® is spot on — this kind of politically-correct nonsense is no sort of preparation for life in the real world.

  Forum Editor 22:55 24 Mar 2009

I take your point, but the fact is, lots of students can and do receive extra marks for what's called 'extreme stress'

On balance I don't believe the BBC treatment of the story is unduly sensationalised - news editors need to catch the reader's eye.

  anchor 16:31 25 Mar 2009

I conduct quite a number of exams a local university. Stress is a fact of life, especially at exam time.

At the start of the exam I try to create as much of a relaxed atmosphere as is possible in the circumstances. In fact I have been thanked afterwards for making the experience as pleasant as possible. I believe this helps the student to do his/her best.

This is in stark contrast to my granddaughter who sat her exams at another University. From what I was told by her, and others, they put the fear of God into them.

  Forum Editor 17:02 25 Mar 2009

what is just stressful for one person might be extremely stressful for another. I might be moderately stressed, or just this side of very stressed, or not far short of extremely stressed.

It's all quite ludicrous. Exams have been stressful since exams began. Some people are better at handling them than others, in the same way that some people are better at driving in heavy traffic than others. The fact that the number of 'special consideration' consents rose by more than 70,000 in three years, and that the number of pupils being awarded extra time has doubled in the same period suggests something.

It suggests that children have learned to milk the system.

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