Thursday, 11 June 2015

No improvement for modern languages in Scotland

"Labour has raised concerns about a drop in the number of students gaining a qualification in modern languages including French, German and Chinese."

"At First Minister's Questions, Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also highlighted a drop in the number achieving a qualification in Gaelic... "

"Labour highlighted the research by Dr James Scott, published in the Scottish Languages Review, which said that in the first year of the new exams: "

"The number of candidates studying Level 3/4/5 German, French or Chinese fell by 37% The number of candidates passing Level 3/4/5 German, French or Chinese fell by more than 40% The number of Gaelic Learners at Level 3/4/5 fell by more than 20% and the number passing these exams fell by more than a quarter."

"The National 4s and 5s are taken in fourth year and the courses only last a year."

"The number of subjects being studied varies from school to school but it is not uncommon to only study six subjects to qualification level. Inevitably, this means there has been a drop in the numbers taking a qualification in many subjects."

"Some parents have expressed unhappiness about what they see as their children's choices for qualifications being narrowed, fearing the academically able were in effect choosing their Highers a year earlier than before - supporters of the changes argue all students now receive a "broad general education" until third year rather than second year."

It has to be asked why Nicola Sturgeon did not do her homework and read Dr Scott`s research paper before appearing at First Minister`s Questions. But then how would she have addressed the fall in pupil numbers who are entering and passing modern language exams?

As it was, for Nicola Sturgeon to have dodged the question by saying that she would look into it and suggesting that Kezia Dugdale may have confused the number of candidates with the number of exam entrants was disingenuous.

The `broad general education` that is Curriculum for Excellence has diluted the traditional academic Scottish education, narrowed choice and altered methods in the classroom to such an extent that it was inevitable standards would fall.

Unfortunately, no party questions Curriculum for Excellence.

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