Thursday, August 16, 2007

Life's consistencies...

'Golden age' of English exam literacy is just fiction | Schools special reports | "Examiners have strongly criticised the 'abuse of punctuation' and 'absence of respect for written language' found in candidates' English papers - in a report from 1952. The familiar complaints as students collect their A-level results were going strong in the so-called golden age of the 1950s, when only a small proportion of the school population ever sat the exam, said Kathleen Tattersall, chair of the Institute of Educational Assessors, which represents examiners. She quoted from a 1952 JMB O-level English language examiners' report: 'There was ... much inferior work arising, it would seem, not only from incompetence but from an absence of respect for written language. 'Colloquialisms, on occasion, enliven narrative but their frequent use and crude forms, noted by all examiners, reflect poor quality of mind and of taste ... The abuse of punctuation suggests that most candidates are ignorant of its function in determining structure and meaning, or are not impressed by its importance.' Two years later the Times Educational Supplement was thundering about 'illiteracy' among English A-level candidates: 'It must be held disquieting that all eight examiners, independently, reported that a very high proportion presented the fruits of their study"
Nothing changes, huh? There will be laments today about the falling standards in schools, literacy dropping, exams being easier... but no matter what changes there may appear to be, one thing is certain... examiners will always complain about the use of language.

There's comfort in the consistencies of life... :o)

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