Solving The Wrong Problem (From Section B)

According to the BBC, via the Times, “exam boards in England are planning to put more simple questions in science papers”. This is in response to lowering science grades and corresponding drops in science A-level and university course uptake.

Okay. But might it also be an idea to put more science questions in there? Science is interesting, and if it was taught properly then students would get better marks and enjoy it more and uptake would increase.

You could also try putting more sensible ones on. Have a look at the exam paper The Times has for download. It’s mostly pretty good for avoiding the complaints of Wellington Grey, although that’s perhaps because it’s all multiple choice and as such it’s largely impossible to specify answers that can’t be guessed at or ask political “why..?” questions. But question three can be answered by someone who doesn’t understand any science at all. Someone who only knew one word of English could probably get it, providing that word was “between”. Question five is quite a good one in principle, but misses a key point of science: that we should assume that the stupid theory is wrong unless its advocates can prove otherwise. I’m sure it’s perfectly answerable, but the correct response to that question is “they shouldn’t bother”. Question seven is not about science. Question ten implies that Jupiter is a star. Question 20 is only debatably a science question, and has two correct answers (or none, depending on how you interpret them).

There’s a huge amount of science test papers and things on the AQA’s site, which is presumably more representative. I might have a look at some later.