The real issue on Higher Still

9th October 1998 at 01:00
YOUR coverage (TESS, September 25) of Helen Liddell's "extra Pounds 24 million" and the overwhelming Educational Institute of Scotland executive council vote in favour of a ballot on boycotting Higher Still may have given some of your readers the impression that teachers are only concerned about workload and resource implications of the programme.

It is extremely disappointing that, despite papers which have been widely distributed, public comment and individual correspondence from teachers all across Scotland, media commentators, politicians, ministers and union spokespersons continue to ignore the other key problem which is of such great professional concern - the question of internal assessment.

Indeed ministers when personally pressed on this issue fail to answer. We are still waiting a reply from Mrs Liddell to our most recent paper which critically analyses the grave shortcomings of the National Assessment Bank, the proposals for moderation of the programme which do not deal at all with the authentication of pupils' work, and the adoption of a model that lacks the integrity, authenticity, rigour and credibility the national qualification at senior level requires.

The failure or, we must now suspect, refusal to recognise teachers' real professional concerns about this matter is as great a source of the strong feeling against Higher Still as is the debacle over resources and workload. That feeling should not be underestimated.

Tony McManus

Buckstone Crescent, Edinburgh

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