Restore creative writing to core of English study

21st September 2007 at 01:00
Larry Flanagan

EIS education convener

The proposed inquiry by the Headteachers' Association of Scotland into potential discrepancies between school estimates for Higher English and actual awards, throws a focus onto this key exam which is worth pursuing more deeply.

It has been the view of the Educational Institute of Scotland that the current exclusion of writing as a discrete element of the final mark, used to grade pupils, represents an anomaly in the composition of the external assessment arrangements for this subject.

This leads in turn to insufficient differentiation for that cohort of pupils bunched around the potential pass mark, leaving SQA examiners with extremely difficult decisions to make about grade boundaries.

Unfortunately, we all know too well that the assessment regime often drives the curriculum. Some action is required to restore writing, particularly, but not exclusively, creative writing, to its rightful place at the core of English study at National Qualification level.

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