Examinations and teaching

Scarth, John and Hammersley, Martyn (1988). Examinations and teaching. British Educational Research Journal, 14(3) pp. 231–249.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0141192880140302


This article examines claims made about the influence of public examinations on teaching and reviews the empirical research in this area. The prevailing view among educationalists, teachers and researchers seems to be that public examinations encourage teaching that involves a high level of fact-transmission. Though there has been much debate about this issue, what little research there has been is inconclusive. We report the findings of a four year study of examinations and teaching. Using timings of teacher and pupil talk, we examine teaching on a range of different types of assessed and non-assessed courses. Strong claims cannot be made on the basis of our data, but our research does raise questions about the current orthodoxy that public examinations cause fact-transmission teaching

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