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Multiple choice mauled

Multiple-choice papers in general vocational qualifications were given the thumbs down by colleges in an Association for Colleges survey, writes Harvey McGavin.

The study, part of the AFC's response to Sir Ron Dearing's review of 16-19 qualifications, shows 98 per cent supported a single diploma replacing A-levels, GNVQs and national vocational qualifications.

Colleges support a more flexible approach to assessment in future and hammered multiple-choice papers, introduced to extend the range of GNVQ tests. A third of colleges took part in the survey.

Three-quarters of respondents - 76 out of 106 - thought that the current system of assessment was inappropriate.

One college said multiple-choice questions were flawed by their inherent guesswork factor, ambiguity and occasional irrelevance. Others said they would prefer case study assessment. "We tell our able students to turn off their brains before they go into the test," said one.

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