I think that we should not lose sight of the fact that this system of internally-assessed units was given such importance within Higher Still in the first place because of the Scottish Vocational Education Council and those who had a vested interest in it and all its works. The SCOTVEC system of assessment (which is all the module descriptors ever were, despite recent attempts to embellish them) has never really sat comfortably with the teaching of English in secondary schools - and I speak as one who has been involved in the teaching of modular courses for some years now. From the beginning, I have been aware, as have my colleagues, of the tendency of module courses to be driven by assessment and reassessment. This is in spite of the fact that we put the emphasis on making the courses as stimulating and worthwhile as possible.
There are other drawbacks to the system. SCOTVEC was a creature of the Thatcher era. It is time that Brian Wilson took a long hard look at the influence of SCOTVEC-based ideas within Higher Still and asked himself whether a system of assessment designed basically for the workplace is really what is required in preparing students for the highest levels of academic study.
ROBERT SIM Norstane Lerwick Shetland