February 12, 2010

This is a blog that acts as the publication of a senior undergraduate psychology class project carried out at Bangor University. The class is called the Science of Education , and is all about applying psychological principles to learning. Our project is about the psychological effect that official policies might have on teaching behaviour.

Recently, teachers in UK secondary schools and A Level colleges have been accused of teaching to the tests.

Officially, school rankings are, in part, determined by the number of students who pass tests. This is used to determine levels of funding, and the reputation of schools in an area. Parents seek out schools that have the highest pass rates, and pressure schools to work toward increasing pass rates.

With all of the pressures on teachers to increase pass rates on nationally set tests, the question that we have attempted to address with this project is: are the reward systems in place for teachers such that their behaviour will be shaped to teach to the test over time?