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The Royal Society3

The Royal Society

In a shocking revelation in the Sunday  Times http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article6917210.ece  a report was passed to the government in July, only a few weeks before GCSE results were released, when Balls accused critics of exam standards of “rubbishing the achievements of young people”.

The government-backed study has undermined claims by Ed Balls, the schools secretary, that GCSE standards have been maintained, by showing that some science papers include questions so simple that they require no knowledge of the subject.


Sir Martin Taylor, vice-president of  the Royal Society, Britain’s foremost scientific body said:

“If we have science exams that do not test the quality of mathematics needed to do good science, or if we have questions that do not require scientific knowledge to answer them, then we do not have an examination system that is fit for purpose.”

The findings also demonstrated that examination boards were allowing scientifically wrong answers to be marked as correct and that maths was only being tested “in a very limited way”.

The Royal Society 2

"No knowledge required"

Sir Cyril would be aghast at the policy of the Department of Education in Northern Ireland which has removed the statutory requirement for pupils to take GCSE English/Irish or Maths but has made it compulsory for primary school pupils to be assessed using a flawed assessment system form the CEM Centre at the University of Durham.

11-plus papers

11-plus practice papers

Richard Pike, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said the maths paper was easier than 11+ practice papers from 1960 with which he had compared it.

“That is an extraordinary indictment of the current UK education system,” said Pike. “We cannot continue to live the lie of ever-increasing standards while businesses struggle to recruit staff with numeracy skills, or who understand the quantitative basis of science.”

Richard Pike, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry