Physics is not an easy option

4th July 2003 at 01:00
Gregor Steele's gut instinct is wrong with regard to the "physics with . .

." courses which I am involved with at Paisley University (TESS, June 20).

These are not easy options and for the physics with medical technology course we are aiming for Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine accreditation, which we cannot get without first having Institute of Physics accreditation. So deep, broad-based knowledge is definitely required for these courses.

I agree with him, though, when he says Higher physics is maybe a wee bit too hard. I have long thought that Higher physics - and Higher maths, to a lesser extent - should be SOGOFF (sit one, get one free), a free Higher English, that is, given the amount of reading required to achieve two marks for the correct physics.

Those of us who have written exam questions in physics and other subjects over a number of years know only too well how easy it is to write a question which does not find out what the candidate knows, but instead makes us look clever. And that's not the aim of the exercise, is it?

Dr Judith H Steven-Setchell Lecturer, electronic engineering and physics School of Information and Communication Technologies University of Paisley

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