Rebels turn heat up on Higher Still English;News;News amp; Opinion

12th November 1999 at 00:00
DISAFFECTED English teachers have again savaged the Higher Still reforms and called for substantial redrafting of their subject.

Tony McManus, spokesman for the Scottish Association of Teachers of Language and Literature, this week published a 43-page journal to increase the pressure on the post-16 curriculum reformers. The association has previously collected 1,300 signatures from staff protesting about the weighting given to internal assessments.

Mr McManus, an Edinburgh teacher, claims that the architects of Higher Still English and Communication were "woefully, unbelievably ignorant of the workload burden already carried by teachers of English" and that internal assessment is "open to both misuse and abuse".

His ginger group is pressing for a halt to assessment of oral skills, the reinstatement of writing in prose on a non-literary topic and a removal of internal assessment. Such testing does not meet "rigorous standards of fairness", he says.

The association says that the experience with Scotvec, Standard grade folios and personal studies folios at Higher was that such systems of assessment can be misused.

"Higher Still requires teachers to be both the teacher and judge, at national level, of their senior pupils. This is not feasible and will lead to a national qualification which will lack credibility," it maintains.

In a broader attack on "philistinism", the association blames the low level of intellectual activity in society for poor levels of academic achievement in schools.

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