Stressed by assessment

13th November 1998 at 00:00
I WOULD go further than Tony McManus (Letters, October 30). I feel the Educational Institute of Scotland and the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association have done their members a great disservice by not objecting to internal assessment in Higher Still from day one of the proposals.

It will inevitably increase workload. Time will have to be spent in dealing with borderline cases lest we ask those who have just passed to resit unnecessarily, or pass those who have just failed.

Every teacher has pupils who they know will pass Higher but who happen to have an off-day and fail a piece of work. Now they will have to resit "under controlled conditions in the centre". What do you do with your class while this is happening? Teach on, increasing the chances of them failing the next assessment? Or not teach?

There are bound to be cases where a particular assessment is queried (parents have a perfect right so to do) and even if the matter is resolved amicably, time and energy will be used in dealing with it.

Do we really want to turn S5 into an assessment-driven grind where piece after piece of work must be passed? The stress on the conscientious pupil could be immense. Are parents aware that this is part of the new courses? The Scotsman in a double-page spread "explaining" Higher Still managed not to mention this at all.

As one HMI said to me of Higher Still: "There will be casualties at first. " Who, I wonder.

E Henderson Somnerfield Court Haddington

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