Coursework has lost its point

28th May 2004 at 01:00
The original intention of coursework was to provide an opportunity for students to show what they could do beyond the narrow range of skills and limited forms of assessment offered by written examinations. It was intended to be motivating, even enjoyable.

Over the years, government prejudice and pressure for results has so undermined this intention that the point of coursework has largely been lost.

Coursework now assesses the same things as the examination in much the same way. Assignments have become formulaic, predictable and so, not surprisingly, susceptible to cheating via the websites referred to in your leading article (TES, May 14).

A few pockets of originality remain, such as the Schools History Project "history around us" assignments, which the website cheats are not interested in because they are local history studies and every school's is different.

I hope that when the awarding bodies pick up Mike Tomlinson's 14 to 19 curriculum review they will look for new ways of reviving the original intentions of coursework.

Chris Culpin Trinity and All Saints college Browberrie Lane Horsforth, Leeds.

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