RMPS - 'Secular' a mystery for some

24th December 2010 at 00:00
Religious, moral and philosophical studies continues to grow in popularity as a subject

Religious, moral and philosophical studies continues to grow in popularity as a subject, with 3,100 candidates sitting Higher this year - 500 up from 2009.

Crime and punishment is the most popular moral issue, with Buddhism the most popular world religion in Higher. No centres opted to teach the new topic of "global issues".

Markers raised a particular concern that a number of teachers presenting pupils at Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher levels appeared to be unaware of changes to the arrangements, which meant that some pupils were ill-prepared for some questions.

There were no significant problems reported for questions relating to Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Sikhism; but Buddhism and Christianity seemed to pose a number of problems for candidates. At Intermediate 2, some candidates did not recognise the term "secular".

More generally, there is concern about candidates' English comprehension skills and a lack of awareness of the "range of command words and cues used by SQA".

At Advanced Higher level, a number of candidates were not aware of the prescribed topics. They were not penalised this year, but will be next year, warned the SQA.

Plagiarism of support notes was probably "the most significant issue" in Advanced Higher dissertations. "A candidate in S6 is going to have a different way of expressing him or herself from an academic with years of experience in a particular field."

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