Geography - First chance denied

5th June 2009 at 01:00

By failing to include a question about climate change in this year's Higher paper, examiners "devalued" the topic, according to Simon Main, a geography teacher at Dalbeattie High in Dumfries and Galloway.

This year was the first time the Scottish Qualifications Authority could have asked about the effects and solutions to climate change, following the introduction of the topic to the Higher syllabus. But they did not, which Mr Main felt was a "sad" decision. "It's almost as if they think teachers need more time, but we're really behind the times with the inclusion of climate change - it should already have been part of the course. That's a snail's pace and not to examine it is devaluing it. It's sad they did not charge in there and say, `You must be teaching this.'"

Generally, however, there were "no great shocks or surprises", he continued. Pupils would have disliked the 18-mark question in paper 1 because they "hate soils".

Mr Main liked question 3 in paper 1 which asked pupils to compare two different farming systems. "Normally they just have to write about one," he said. "This question required a bit more thinking rather than just regurgitating information."

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