Scrap Standard grades

12th December 1997 at 00:00
Higher Still will be in schools and colleges from session 1999-2000, creating a curriculum that aims to build on achievement with students gaining units that go towards a final examination.

This system of achievement is quite contradictory to Standard grade, which aims to differentiate students according to their ability to met the course requirements of Foundation, General and Credit.

I have always perceived a Foundation pass as "certificated failure" and the vast majority of students are of a like mind. The course content at Standard grade is not designed evenly across the three levels. progression occurs gradually between Foundation and General while from general to Credit the progression is a gigantic leap. A leap so great that a large percentage of General candidates fail to achieve a Credit award and settle for a FoundationGeneral pass. Some Standard grade credit questions would do justice to a Higher paper.

Now is the time to scrap Standard grades which never delivered what was promised in any meaningful way.

"Certificates for all" are pointless if the certificate merely attests to low ability, or worse, failure.

The introduction of the Higher Still Intermediate 1 courses into S3S4 would do much to end the current negativity among students.

The structure of Intermediate 1 would allow students to achieve units throughout their course and lead to a similar external examination for all S4 students. No class would have the "I'm Foundation" student.

CAROLINE URQUHART Moira Terrace Edinburgh

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