Thursday, July 10, 2008

Neat Proof Exams Have Got Easier

Proof exams really have got easier comes from a neat piece of research today, where 16 year olds were given chemistry questions from the 1960s and later, mixed in with questions from the present day. 

The result was hardly surprising. They failed miserably.

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) gave around 2000 youngsters an exam paper that mixed both O-level and GCSE questions from the past fifty years. 

Around 450 UK schools took part in the exam, organised as a competition and the average overall mark was just 25 per cent.

Youngsters scored an average of just 15 per cent on the O-level chemistry questions from the 1960s.

It can be argued that schools teach different things these days and you need a different kind of exam to test this. But wait a minute. This is chemistry. Atoms have been around forever and chemicals get up to the same things now as they did then.

For the past ten years New Labour's warped sense of values has created an education culture where schools have been forced to dumb-down the teaching and create meaningless exams by a government obsessed with targets. 

Never mind the quality of teaching, problem solving-skills and rigourous study, just look at the quantity. Everyone passes, everyone gets a worthless bit of paper and everyone's a winner.

There are just as many bright sparks around today as there were in the past. But the way of manipulating present education policies to suit political targets is damning for the future. Just who will go on to become the future scientists, researchers and inventors? 

Commenting on the results, Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the RSC, said: "This remains a major issue for universities and employers, who say the country needs better problem solving skills to remain at the forefront of an increasingly competitive world."

Try telling that to schools secretary Balls.

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