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Another post re external exams

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 9 September 2015

An edited version of the letter below was published in The Courier-Mail of Tuesday 8 September 2015. It was part of an exchange featured in another recent post. I have provided my original version and what the paper printed.

What I submitted

Syllabuses and external exams

I suspect that physics teacher Jeevan Soorya Dhas might be confusing some members of the general public.

In his letter in Friday's edition he suggested that there was no physics syllabus in Queensland. In his follow-up letter (7/9) he conceded that there is a syllabus but dismissed it as "silly".

Given his opinion of the document, he would presumably not wish it to be the basis of external exams in the subject. What, then, would be the source of the questions? The whims and pet topics of the chief examiner? And if official examiners are no more honest than Dhas suggests science teachers in schools are, then advance copies of exam papers should be readily available.

It is clear that Dhas thinks there should be little scope at school level for decision making about curriculum and assessment with all such matters being thoroughly detailed in a syllabus. Whatever the merits of that position, it does run counter to the currently widespread push for greater school autonomy to be observed around the country.

Garry Collins
Immediate past president, English Teachers Association of Queensland

What the paper printed

School daze

Jeevan Soorya Dhas (Letters, Sep 4) suggested there was no physics syllabus in Queensland. In his follow-up (Letters, Sep 7) he conceded there is a syllabus but dismissed it as "silly". It is clear that Dhas thinks there should be little scope at school level for decision-making about curriculum and assessment with all such matters detailed in a syllabus. Whatever the merits of that position, it is counter to the push for greater school autonomy around the country.

Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: Assessment

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