Maturity must match ability

4th September 1998 at 01:00
IF THE school curriculum should be as flexible as possible to suit the needs of all pupils, external forms of assessment ought to reflect that. The Scottish Office suggests that the traditional "ages and stages" restrictions should be relaxed, and offers three options.

There is a case for sweeping away all inhibitions on pupils sitting exams when they and their teachers feel they are ready. But we do not want in Scotland the spectacle of short-trousered prodigies paraded before the cameras as they take up a place at university. Maturity is not just a matter of intellectual capability.

The 5-14 programme ought to be able to cope with the ablest pupils. That is why level F is being introduced and there is no reason why a teacher cannot take an exceptionally bright pupil well into, even beyond, the Standard grade syllabus while still under 14.

From S3 to S6 exams should be taken when pupils are ready, although the practical difficulties for school staffing should not be underestimated. Candidates aiming at Advanced Highers, which are bound to become a benchmark for oversubscribed university courses, need as much time as they can find.

The Government's proposed compromise of a year's flexibility in when exams are taken is acceptable for the time being. Once Higher Still with its five levels is bedded down, there may be scope for further changes.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now