Once a teacher

28th September 2001 at 01:00
The debate on assessment had the benefit of a number of MSPs who forsook the classroom for greater things. Colin Campbell, former Glasgow heidie, who normally speaks for the SNP on defence matters, recalled the "homespun" approach to assessment in his time.

One P7 pupil was accompanied on his way to secondary with a glowing testimonial that stated: "Has difficulty with reading and writing. Misbehaves all the time. Unfortunately attends every day."

Then there was Liberal Democrat Ian Jenkins, who, despite being a former principal teacher of English, confessed to some interpretative difficulties with the present assessment arrangements.

In 5-14, an A is at the bottom and F is at the top. Standard grade goes numerical and makes 7 the bottom score while 1 is at the top, whereas Intermediate 1 is lower than Intermediate 2. At Higher, A is good but C is poor.

"I have probably made mistakes in describing the system," Jenkins noted cheerfully, "because it is utterly confusing, incoherent and unclear."

Such a pity Einstein had not applied his mind to it.

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