Backwards step on investigation

25th April 1997 at 01:00
I would like to make a personal comment on your report, "Investigations axed" (TESS, April 11). Not all secondary teachers welcome this early decision by the Scottish Qualifications Authority to scrap investigations in Standard grade history, geography, modern studies and economics.

I feel that the removal of the investigation from social subjects and modern studies, in particular, is one of the saddest days of my 23 year teaching career. Modern studies led the way in investigating skills with the special study and then the individual study continued this process. Many pupils, able and less able, were able to produce, over a period of time without exam time restrictions, excellent exten-ded reports. The individual study was a great pupil motivator and pupils often received great personal satisfaction.

I must also make comment on your use of the statistics in the survey. Thirty per cent of centres did not return questionnaires and I feel that this would be because they are happy with the status quo. I also think that full consideration has not been taken of the fact that centres were offered three options, two of these options being an individual study in some form.

In both history and modern studies, only 44 per cent of first choices wanted an external exam, which means that in both history and modern studies 56 per cent of respondents wanted an individual study in some form as their first choice. This is the majority of history and modern studies centres. In geography, 27 per cent of respondents wanted an individual study in some form.

With these first choice results the Scottish Examination Board should have retained the individual study that was wanted in some form. The three options have split the individual study choices and this has not been fully taken into consideration. It seems that history and modern studies are being pushed down the choice road that geography wanted.

I hope it is not too late for these results to be looked at again and investigation restored to its rightful position within the social subjects.

GRAHAM SMITH Principal teacher, modern studies Braeview Academy, Dundee

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