Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Scandal of British State Education.
As a physicist who taught physics in the dim and distant past, I thought I would check out its teaching now. Not great, to put it mildly. Here is a question from the British AQA examination board set in March 2009 in a GCSE physics exam. This exam is taken by 15-16 year olds. Could a physics question at this level be dumbed down any more? What could passing this "exam" possibly do other than prove a rather modest level of literacy? Was this question a warm up ? Something to give the poor dears a little confidence at the start ? In that case why not have something like this:
Q. When is there more sunlight ? Tick A or B.
A. At night.
B. During the day.
If the question was a warm up, things don't get much more challenging or to do with physics as you proceed through the paper. Here is the last half of the very last question.
You are allowed a calculator. Use it to multiply two numbers together. Well done!! You have now got a GCSE in physics. Congratulations.
The 13+ exam used for entry at ages 12/13 years into private secondary schools is of a higher standard than this. As a consequence, kids in the state system are 3 to 4 years behind those in the private system. They never catch up. This is the scandal of the education that Britain now gives the 95% or more of its children who cannot afford private education.