>> 30 Aug 2004


The dumbing down continues. Officials who were accused of a “ludicrous dumbing down” of a Shakespeare test for 14-year-olds have been criticised again by teachers for setting questions that have no bearing on the plays. Read the details here.

Get this - the Qualification and Curriculum Authority - the people who "maintain standards" were condemned by English teachers last year for setting a question on Henry V that simply asked students to write about people they admired. Another, on Twelfth Night, told teenagers that Malvolio was a character who did not like people to enjoy themselves, then asked them to write a speech for school assembly on banning chips from the canteen menu.

Bethan Marshall, a lecturer in education at King’s College London, and spokeswoman for the London Association of Teachers of English, described the paper as “feeble”, saying: “It has absolutely nothing to do with Macbeth or Shakespeare. This is just about the only proper piece of literature that students are required to study at Key Stage 3 and the test just downgrades Shakespeare completely.”

Is it any wonder exam results rise each year - we have removed the acquisition of knowledge from education!


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