Arts > Top marks

02 June 2016 | by D.J. Taylor

Top marks


For the concerned parent of a GCSE-sitting schoolchild – I am one – nothing could have been more timely than All in the Mind’s feature on the question of exam-induced stress (24 May).

To emphasise the prevalence of anxious teenagers, the programme began with a collage of keen but nervy-sounding youngsters lamenting the academic pressures to which they were subject and complaining, above all, of the extensive build-up on which the modern public examination seems to rest. A whole year doing nothing but rehearse tricks likely to appease the marker, one girl insisted.

Beyond the protocols of Radio 4 this might have been the signal for a comprehensive rubbishing of the system, yet the discussion that followed was surprisingly even-handed. So even-handed, that sometimes you wondered whether Claudia Hammond and her clutch of educationalists and child psychologists would ever arrive at a decisive judgment.


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