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Minister checks on science exams

December 5, 2008

On the BBC news pages today:

“A government minister has said he is calling in copies of GCSE and A-level science exam papers to satisfy himself they are not being “dumbed down”.

Science Minister Lord Drayson said it was vital that the brightest and best pupils were stretched by education.
“As a science minister I’m determined to make sure that happens.” He added: “No dumbing down on my watch.”

Too late, minister.

Ten years ago I was using O’ level texts to support first year A’ level Physics. Now I’m back at the whiteboard again and finding both AS and A2 students have huge gaps in their knowledge and experience from GCSE; whole topics that I would have included for all GCSE Physics groups! As a result I’m about to use a GCSE text book to support my A2 group as most of them have virtually no prior knowledge of electromagnetism.

Shame on the schools and teachers who gave them such an inadequate education in Physics. Shame on the  government and examination boards for dumbing down the A’ level syllabus as a pragmatic solution to the problem of a shortage of graduate school Physics teachers.

Read the full story: here

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