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Target Levels in Schools.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2014 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 342 times Debate No: 67338
Debate Rounds (3)
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First off, I live in the United Kingdom. I'm not sure if you have target levels in other countries. In case you don't, here's effectively what happens.

At the start of the year in Secondary Schools in the UK, your targets for the next 3 years are set. They're based off your attainment in Year 6.

Personally, I am against the setting of targets, for the following reasons.

They can set people in the state of mind that they can't achieve higher than their targets.

They can cause people to be de-motivated, if your target is incredibly low. This sets you in the state of mind of "Well, they've already made up their minds about me. What's the point in trying?"

They can cause people to be overstressed. If you underachieve on your target, you get a big fat red make on your report. That, not only can cause teachers to nag you and stress you out, but also make your parents think you're not doing well in school.

People who set targets seem to think that you're a machine. When it comes to the expected rise in your level, it's relatively straight. It doesn't go down. However, your levels can due to family, personal or other issues. Or you just simply have a bad term.

They don't really do much...

I'd like to hear your opinions and thoughts on the Targets system. Leave them below if you will.


I also live in the UK. I may be biased in my arguments and may not be completely objective since I went to a grammar school but the premise of targets are that they should inspire and push the child to do as best they can. Usually most school have new target grades every year which was implemented in the Uk recently.

Frankly, most children in the UK don't care about doing well and becoming doctors or scientists or historians but playing video games and watching gangnam style. This is why the targets are in place, to motivate and to ensure that the children are not idly wasting away their time at school. We are paying tax for them to go to school, their should be some evidence of them learning.

The targets also give parents an idea as to where the child need more help. However I do not condone those who shame students because they didn't get a good grade or expect them to achieve A* when they're predicted a U. When the child is too young to know what is best for them, the targets are there for the parents to know where their child needs more guidance and help. For older students it can be helpful so they know what their future plans may be dependant on the grades they have and their targets. Bear in mind that target grades are not magicked out of thin air they are based on previous performances. Emphasis on the plural of performance.

ALso, i disagree about the premise that the child will think they can't achieve higher than their predicted grade, since their exam results wil not be based on this but by how hard they study and how much work they put in.

Furthermore, the targets have no basis in real life. When you go to an interview they will not ask you what was your target grade in Year 9. It is just to teach to child to strive for better and to work hard.

If a child receives a bad target and feels guilty, that is not the target grades fault but rather the parents and teachers who have enforced the idea that they must achieve 100% in everything, and this would cause the stress. Therefore rather than focusing on the target grades, maybe we should focus on educating the teachers and parents as to how to help the child achieve more without damaging their self-esteem or mental state.

If there was no target system, you wouldn't really know you were not doing well in an exam until the final exam, where it matters. Also, for there to be targets, students must take practice exams and these can be helpful to prepare students for the many exams that they will have to take, and this is part of school and preparing for future employment.

Finally I can speak from experience when I say Year7-9 is pointless. You play with your friends, copy hw off someone else, and then whine about it. So honestly, targets do not have an effect on students state of mind or their studies and are not accurate and most students know that, however parents don't. So to reiterate, educating the parents about how to help their child should be first and foremost. Non-one remembers what their target grade was in Year 9, it is just lousy proof that our tax isn't going to waste.
Also, how do the parents know their child is doing as well as they say they are? The parents are not there to know for sure. Another reason why target grades are needed.
Debate Round No. 1


If they don't care about doing well, what makes you think a level on a piece of paper will motivate them to do well? And for the evidence of them learning: Target grades are what the school EXPECTS. It is not what they are GETTING. That's why there are reports at the end of each half-term. (Atlas, there are in my school. I'm not sure about other schools) And the idly wasting time at school thing? How do TARGETS show that? It's the grades that you ACTUALLY achieve that can show if or if not you're idly wasting time at school.

A more accurate reading of where children need help are the grades they ACTUALLY achieve. Targets (at least, in my experience) are VICIOUSLY inaccurate. For example, on one report, from the first TERM of school, I was already achieving OVER my end of years target in some subjects. And I'm not talking by a small amount. I'm talking about whole LEVELS over.
They are indeed based on previous performances. However, people are not machines. You won't maintain a constant steady rise, as is expected in atlas my targets.

A lot of people I know genuinely do feel that they can't achieve higher than their target grade. I myself felt that a while ago, before realising that targets expect you to have a constant rise. The problem is, not everyone will realise this, and they'll become demotivated, and remain the same way.

I do agree that parents and teachers can cause stress, and they should indeed concentrate on helping children without placing too much pressure on them.

Even with a targets system, I can't see how targets impact you knowing if you're doing well in an exam. Targets are what you're expected to get if you were a perfect robot who follows the pattern, but they don't tell you how you're doing during an exam.

"How do parents know their child is doing as well as they say they are?"
What about the grades you GET from an exam and are on your report card. Not the grades you're EXPECTED to get. For example, I could have a target grade of an A*. Going by the logic of your argument, I could start slacking off in class and get, say a C in an exam. But since my target is an A*, then yay! My parents think I'm doing well, and they aren't bothered that, in actual fact, I got a C.

This is the most fun I've had for a long time. Good arguments. I'm used to dealing with people who just go "I'M RIGHT AND YOU'RE WRONG BECAUSE I SAY I'M RIGHT" as opposed to someone who looks at the points that have been made, examines them and breaks them down.

Your turn to argue :D


marocaine forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Bloxcreeper forfeited this round.


marocaine forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Mister_Man 1 year ago
This seems like something I'd be interested in taking up, but I really have no idea what this is and I've never heard about it before, as I live in Canada. It kind of makes sense but I'd have to do some more research before accepting, and I'm sure someone would accept in the next few hours.
Posted by vi_spex 1 year ago
focus on what you can do today to reach the target, like writing 2 pages every day if you want to write a book, you don't have to think about the book, just the 2 pages you are going to write today
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