March 18, 2006

Draw your own conclusions

Reported today:

English school students in Western Australia could pass their final-year exam without reading a book or being able to spell, punctuate or use correct grammar.

The new Year 12 English exam instead asks students to compare posters for the films Spider-Man 2 and Gandhi, and to analyse a piece of their own writing rather than accepted greats such as Shakespeare or George Orwell.

The sample exam for the new general English course just released for the West Australian Certificate of Education says students can draw answers and are not required to use grammatically correct sentences.

"Student responses can also be given in dot-point format, diagrams or other suitable alternatives to continuous prose," the marking key says.

"Student responses should not be penalised for poor spelling, punctuation, grammar or handwriting, unless these are elements ... specifically being assessed."

That's all you really need to know, but you can read the rest in The Australian.

I have nothing to add.


  1. This is surreal.
    No wonder our kids are in the state they're in. They have no idea of what's right and what's wrong. With flimsy guidelines like these I've no doubt the literary God's are fuming.
    Very interesting.


  2. I got me ejucashon in WA and I em fine.

    Without going into too much detail, I advertised for a new position in my company and it was staggering how illiterate some of the applicants were.

    This was a clanger: "Developing and Mainaintaing an accurate database"

  3. Captain - I'll bet that applicant also laid claim to:

    a) excellent communication skills, both written and verbal; and

    b) close attention to detail and production of high quality work.

    I've been seeing that sort thing for so many years now that it's almost depressing, rather than funny. Do you know what it's like to get poorly written applications, laying claim to all the usual things, when the job primarily entails WRITING and ACCURACY, not to mention research?

    Have you ever been asked by a "new" staff member - who claimed they were capable of "taking the initiative & working on their own" - "but who is going to help me do the PowerPoint slides?" This, in response to a simple task of putting existing material into a very brief presentation pack. They were serious too. It was beyond their ability to do anything without the "help" of a whole team of people, every step of the way. Oh, they also wanted to take a "leadership" role. Grrrrrr. And that was the least of it! Ah, the tales of horror we could share.

    I especially like that fact that WA students won't be forced to read any writer other than themselves. "oh, I never read anything that I haven't written myself". Hmm, has a familiar ring to it.

    Now, Captain, were you going to provide a written analysis of your last comment for us? Or you could provide a drawing, if you prefer, and if you feel it will better capture the analysis of your writing.

  4. Next they'll make math relative.
    2 + 2 = 4, unless you like 5 better. It's all good in Moronville.

  5. The dumbing down continues.

    Grrr is right. There are no excuses for bad manners or poor literacy.

    As for powerpoint? Hell, even I know how to put together one of those presentation things. And draw up flow charts and gannt charts and pie charts.

    I am good at eating pies, also.


    This is a dangerous step backwards for our kids. There are no favours being done here.

    A big part of the problem, though, is that the teachers themselves are barely literate.

  6. Nilk - and just contemplate, for a moment (not for too long, or your head might explode): the teenagers going through high school today will still gain entry into teaching degrees (perhaps by drawing some nice pictures, or by analysing an email they sent to their boyfriend), and in the not so distant future they, in turn, will be teaching five year olds, or 16 year olds.

    The spiral downwards is breathtaking in its implications for every aspect of society.

  7. Not going to think about that for too long, Caz, as it creeps me out too much.

    I'll be supplementing the social life of Magilla's schooling with some proper ejoocashn at home.