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Rationing education : policy, practice, reform, and equity /

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Education reforms have "raised standards" but deepened inequity. More students now reach the previously "elite" level, of five higher grade passes in their final examinations, but at the same time inequalities of "race", class and gender have grown. Focusing on two London schools, this volume exposes the processes of selection and differential treatment that shape these trends. As schools strive to meet performance targets, teachers find themselves rationing education. An "A-to-C economy" has developed where students are labelled, sorted and selected according to their supposed chances of attaining grades A-to-C. The situation is worsened by government refusal to prioritise equity issues, an examination system that institutionalises failure, and a testing industry that reinforces dangerously simple notions of "ability" and intelligence. Using interviews and observations, the study shows how these factors work upon teachers and students as they try to make sense of and survive the changing demands upon them.

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