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영국 교육제도, 주관기관 간 경쟁으로 부패

19:57 14 Oct 2010
영국 교육제도, 주관기관 간 경쟁으로 부패

□ 영국 교육 제도에 대한 신랄한 지적
- “영국의 교육제도는 병들고 부패했다” : 영국교육과정평가원(QCA) 前 총괄담당자 믹 워터스의 비판
- 영국의 대입시험 체계와 시험 주관기관의 무리한 경쟁을 정면 비판

□ 내용
- 영국교원연맹(NUT)의 존 뱅스 등이 쓴 책 ‘학교 재창조와 교육개혁’(Reinventing Schools, Reforming Teaching) 내 믹 워터스의 인터뷰에서 발췌
- 워터스는 QCA에 근무하기 전 시험이 턱없이 쉬워서 너무 많은 학생들이 쉽게 통과한다는 주장이 부당하고 여겼으나, 현재는 영국의 교육(시험)제도가 병들고 부패했다고 생각한다고 주장
- 워터스는 영국의 경우 시험의 주관기관이 여러 곳이라 무리한 경쟁이 이루지고 있으며, 기관 관계자들이 자사의 시험이 더 쉽다는 식으로 각 학교 교장들에게 홍보 및 책구입 권유를 하는 것을 목격한 적이 있다고 밝힘
- 내부거래 의혹 : 시험 출제자들이 직접 교과서를 집필하면서 학생들이 시험을 볼 때 도움이 되는 힌트를 주거나 출제자가 쓴 책의 일부가 시험 문제로 활용되는 등 문제점이 많다고 지적
- 그는 시험 감독기관이 영향력 있는 교육계 인사들과 정부의 눈치를 보느라 이를 제대로 규제하지 못하고 있다며 “당국은 고위급 시험 출제자가 그들의 학생들이 하는 질문과 관련된 교과서를 써도 되는지부터 조사해야 한다”고 주장

□ 반응
- 시험 주관기관 Edexcel, OCR 대변인 : “우리는 시험이 쉽다고 밝힌 적이 없다”며 워터스의 주장을 반박. 시험출제자는 해당 기관의 이름을 상업적으로 쓸 수 없으나, 시험 주관기관에서는 이들이 다른 기관과 일하는 것을 막을 수 없다고 밝힘
- 시험규제기관 Ofqual은 주장의 정당성에 관해 조사할 예정

※상세 내용은 원문 참조

System of exam boards 'corrupt and diseased', says leading schools adviser
Awarding bodies accused of urging heads to use their exams because they were 'easier'
By Richard Garner, Education Editor

A top exams adviser warns today that the A-level and GCSE testing system is "diseased" and "almost corrupt".

In a new book, Mick Waters, the former director of curriculum at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, claims that he witnessed senior exam board officials trying to persuade headteachers that their exams were the easiest in an attempt to win business over their rivals.

He accuses them of contributing to the dumbing down of the examination system – a charge often levied by education traditionalists but strenuously denied in government circles.

Mr Waters says: "I used to think that all this criticism of exams that they were being dumbed down was unfair... [but] we've got a set of awarding bodies that are in a market place. I've seen people from awarding bodies talk to headteachers implying that their examinations are easier."

There are three main exam boards vying for candidates – Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts (OCR), Edexcel and the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA).

The new book – Reinventing Schools, Reforming Teaching – has been written by John Bangs, former head of education at the National Union of Teachers, and Professors John MacBeath and Maurice Galton from Cambridge University. It is the first comprehensive analysis of education policy under New Labour.

Mr Waters also accuses the exam boards of "insider dealing", claiming that head examiners wrote textbooks giving pupils tips for answering questions which they would later mark. He says that Ofqual, the body set up under Labour to oversee exam standards, lacks the courage to tackle the issue.

"I don't think they've got the nerve, and that's where it's so similar to the economic problems where the regulator did nothing new, because the big names went to the Government and moaned. They [Ofqual] should immediately look up whether the chief examiner should be allowed to write the text[book] with regards to pupils' questions. That's insider dealing. You shouldn't be allowed to do that."

Mr Waters told The Independent: "Their exams are supported by texts often produced by their own examiners... there must be a conflict of interest somewhere. Surely it needs looking at."

Last night Ofqual said it would investigate allegations of "insider dealing" if it was supplied with evidence.

Mr Bangs added: "I personally think there should just be a single examination board." He also called for the creation of an Education Standards Authority, which unlike Ofqual would have all its members appointed independently – an idea floated by the Liberal Democrats during the election.

Mr Waters' comments won support from headteachers. Richard Cairns, of the fee-paying Brighton College, said: "I raised this issue with David Willetts [the Universities minister] but the Conservatives seem to favour a marketplace in examinations. The problem is there are several exam boards and they do proffer advice on their own syllabuses. There are also some that are regarded as easier than others and schools that are quite candidly thinking about league tables – they're going to do the easier syllabus."

Exam boards were swift to deny Mr Waters' allegations. A spokeswoman for OCR said: "OCR has never said that its exams are easier. It competes on quality of service, training and support for teachers and educational integrity."

It added that its examiners were banned from using OCR's name for commercial purposes, but added that the board "has no legal right to prohibit them for undertaking work for other organisations as they are not employees". A spokeswoman for Edexcel said: "Edexcel do not agree with Mick Waters." AQA, however, said it wanted a stronger regulator and had a strict code which stated examiners must not make use of its name for commercial purposes.

The book also reveals how Michael Howard, when he was Leader of the Opposition, persuaded Tony Blair to drop his planned reform of A-levels in 2005. An inquiry by Sir Mike Tomlinson, the former chief inspector of schools, was about to recommend that the existing system should be replaced by a diploma covering vocational qualifications as well.

When Mr Howard made a speech saying he would act to defend A-levels at all costs, Mr Blair changed his mind over the reforms, fearful of damaging his party before the upcoming general election.

The Independent, 2010.9.17