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More on external exams

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 5 September 2015

I had a letter about senior secondary school assessment published in The Courier-Mail of Saturday 5 September 2015. It was in response to a letter in the previous day's edition.

What I submitted:

School and university exams

Jeevan Soorya Dhas, (Letters, 4 Sep) writes that under Queensland's current senior secondary school assessment arrangements "teachers are able to tell their students what questions would be in their exams", insultingly implying that this is common practice.

This unprofessional practice is also possible in universities where exams are set and marked internally rather than by any external body. I wonder whether Dhas is consistent enough to extend his slur to academics across the country.

Strangely, Dhas claims that "schools can teach whatever they want instead of following a common syllabus". If he goes to the website of the QCAA (Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority) he will find the senior physics syllabus at https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/1964.html . Dhas identifies himself as a physics teacher but perhaps he has never looked at this document.

If the accuracy and logic evident in Dhas's letter were representative of science teaching in the state then we certainly would have a problem.

Garry Collins
Immediate Past President, English Teachers Association of Queensland

What the paper printed:

Criticisms aimed at senior school assessment are not on the mark

Teacher Jeevan Soorya Dhas, (Letters, 4 Sep) wrote that under Queensland's current senior secondary school assessment arrangements "teachers are able to tell their students what questions would be in their exams", implying this is common practice.

I wonder whether he would extend his slur to all academics as this unprofessional practice is also possible in universities where exams are set and marked internally. Dhas claimed that "schools can teach whatever they want ".  He will find his physics syllabus on the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority website. 

Garry Collins, Immediate Past President, English Teachers Association of Queensland

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
Rye Winter 1 day ago
Perhaps your arguments would have a little more validity if you removed the patronizing and condescending tone from your writing. I know neither you, nor Mr Soorya Dhas personally, but I think this piece says more about the type of person you are, rather than illustrating your point.

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