Monday, November 29, 2004

See, I told you so...

I've got sort of half a blogpost here, and half a warning. The Indy reports an interview with Mike Boston. "Who?", I hear you yell. Well, you want to get on the right side of this bloke, because he's in charge of QCA. "What's that and why should I care?", I hear you all mutter. Well, it's the government body to which all the exam boards are duty bound. What Mike Boston says, goes. And he thinks it's rubbish that A Level English students (Language and Literature) are getting top grades without being able to spell, punctuate, or write grammatically fluent sentences. He's about to act on this.

So, the half a blogpost is to consider the attitudes articulated in this perennial debate about the value and importance of using the forms of Standard English. The ones expressed here are perfectly straightforward, but there is an implicit criticism of English teaching methods over the last 25 years, which have often tended to value content and creative expression over technical accuracy. Whatever your opinion on this matter, here is my half a warning. Ken Boston says he will be directing examiners of English to reward good written expression and punish the poor stuff. You've got time before June to sort it out if you start now..... And don't say I never told you so!....

Bad spelling and punctuation to be penalised in exams


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