Educayshon, Educayshon, Educayshon

As the education dumbing down debate continues where one side argues that exams are getting easier while the other suggests that teaching is getting better, it seems that the Joint Council for Qualifications is looking to resolve the debate once and for all. They are going to dumb down science papers. There, no more need to quarrel over the state of our education and examination system - it is crap. Official. The JCQ says that, from next year, exam papers should consist of 70 per cent “low-demand questions”, requiring simpler or multiple-choice answers. These currently make up just 55 per cent of the paper. This is all in the name of getting more kids to take up science - i.e. bribe them with a good grade. What a brilliant way to get the new generation of scientists, hand over top grades to a bunch halfwits.

This comes with the news that in the past five years, the proportion of students gaining a grade D or better in one of the combined science papers has leapt from 39.6 to 46.7 per cent. So now they are official going to get easier, it seems there won't even be a need for a D grade anymore - which is just as well because most of the students taking science probably won't be able to get that far in the alphabet anyway.

Take this example questions from a GCSE paper (from today's Times):

Many people observe the stars using:

A a telescope

B a microscope

C an x ray tube

D a synthesiser

I am not kidding. That is a genuine question from a GCSE paper. It's like some sort of Richard and Judy phone in quiz.



See also this letter from a physics teacher.

A paper question asked: `Why must we develop renewable energy sources?’ This is a political question. Worse yet, a political statement. I’m not saying I disagree with it, just that it has no place on a physics GCSE paper.

Via Brian Micklethwait.

Yes, Freebornjohn picked up on this as well. It's good to keep the issue alive. The tide still seems to be running against academic rigour for now.