Higher Still crashes again;Letter

12th June 1998 at 01:00
English is not the only subject in which the manner of the Higher Still development has provoked dismay (Letters, June 5). As individuals who are deeply committed to the development of computing, we wish to express serious concern about our subject's treatment at the hands of Higher Still.

We support, and continue to support, the basic principles of Higher Still, including the aim of providing a more flexible curriculum with courses suited to a broad range of learners. Unfortunately in our subject the implementation of the reform has been depressingly inept.

The Higher Still planners chose largely to ignore earlier criticism of the Computing and Information Technology Framework, although the source of these criticisms was widespread and included the Scottish Examination Board's computing panel and local authorities.

The development now appears to be increasingly isolated from professional opinion. The resignations of teacher members of the development group, and the arrival and rapid departure of five successive field officers, indicate the extent of the disarray. Recent "training days" have presented materials of very uneven quality and completeness and basic problems relating to assessment, multilevel teaching and IT resourcing remain unsolved.

At its best, our subject offers learners an intellectual adventure in which new science and technology become the basis for exploring new forms of communication, problem-solving and creativity.

On its present form Higher Still will not fulfil this promise, not only because it lacks any vision of computing beyond the mundane and vocational but also because classroom teachers will struggle to overcome the mediocrity of the learning experience which the new courses imply.

Young people in Scotland deserve better.

Tom Conlon, Peter Lennon, Catriona McInnes,Lewis Smith

co Moray House Institute of Education, Edinburgh

EIS debate, page 4

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