Off to a bad start

6th June 2008 at 01:00
Stop using fuzzy photographs in biology exams, was the plea from subject teachers at Webster's High in Angus
Stop using fuzzy photographs in biology exams, was the plea from subject teachers at Webster's High in Angus.

"We want line diagrams instead of photographs," said Cara Matthew, principal teacher of science. "Photographs don't reproduce well and the quality of image is not as good."

Overall, Standard grade exams were "OK", she continued, but pupils found the General "tricky" and harder to complete than Credit.

Some questions were "inappropriate for General level", Ms Matthew said, such as Question 9 - about injury levels in different sports - which required fairly advanced maths skills. The paper also got off to a bad start, she felt, by asking pupils to use a biological key to identify a plant. Such a "wordy" question would have "stalled" the poorer pupils, she said.

Higher biology was "straightforward", as was the Advanced Higher. Ms Matthew had "a few gripes" with Higher human biology, but she thought Question 4 on female hormones was a "beautiful question", and she was delighted with Question 8, which asked pupils to name part of the brain. The answer was medulla oblongata, which her pupils will have got right because they "just love the way it sounds".

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