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Naughty Nessie;Jotter

Is the Loch Ness monster too much for England's 13-year-olds? A national stage 3 reading test taken by 600,000 pupils has been criticised for its difficulty, especially a travel article on Nessie, which began: "Urquhart Castle is probably one of the most picturesquely situated castles in the Scottish Highlands."

Teachers believe that the unfamiliar language and sentence structure will have thrown many examinees. A reading age of around 16 was needed to comprehend the article.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said that pupils had expressed a high level of interest in the Loch Ness article. But what about the reinforcing of stereotypical concepts of Scotland? Sorry, that's too difficult.

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