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‘Simplistic’ Exam Questions Slammed

July 2, 2008

Pupils are being set “simplistic” exam questions when they have been taught to a much higher ability, scientists say.

The Royal Society of Chemistry said there was a widening gulf between the high-quality teaching and curriculum materials available for science lessons in the UK’s schools and the questions set in exams for 14-year-olds.

Large sums had been spent on enhancing the delivery of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects but this was being negated by examiners who were reinforcing low expectations and setting standards only to the levels that weaker schools taught to, the society said.

Society chief executive Richard Pike said: “This is not just a matter of having questions of varying difficulty to accommodate a wide range of ability within the student cohort, which has become a feature of modern examinations. Rather, even questions tailored for an ability range such as tiers 3-6 in Key Stage 3 are far less demanding than reflected in the content of textbooks written specifically for this range.”

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