Feeds

Students shy away from 'difficult' science

Decline of science education, part 534

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Students are abandoning "difficult" science A-levels in favour of "funky" subjects like media studies and psychology, according to a report from the House of Lords. Physics take-up has been particularly affected, the Lords said.

The report, entitled Science Teaching in Schools, notes a decade-long decline in the numbers of students taking science and maths at A-level. It attributed the decline, at least in part, to fashion, but said that the problem had been exacerbated by "teaching to test", school league tables and misplaced health and safety fears. It also noted the shortage of science teachers, and chastised the government for failing to follow through on a promised £200m investment in school science labs.

Teaching to test meant that teachers were confining their instruction to a narrow and uninspiring set of methods, the report warned. Meanwhile, changes to the way Ofsted carries out its inspections mean that poor teaching might not be picked up.

More seriously, however, the Lords noted that as well as being perceived as being more difficult, there was some evidence that science and maths subjects actually are more taxing than Media Studies. [In related news, the sky has been confirmed as blue, and last week, the sea was found to be wet.]

The Lords said that the contention that all A-levels are given equal weight, as put forward by the Department for Education and Skills and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, was "unconvincing", the BBC reports.

It also cited anecdotal evidence that some students are steered away from difficult subjects by schools concerned that lower grades might negatively affect the standing of the school in league tables.

Lord Broers, the chairman of the committee behind the report, called for the post-16 curriculum to be broadened.

He said: "We call on the government to look again at a diploma or baccalaureate system, which would enable students to keep studying science and maths along with other subjects, reducing the tendency for them to drop science entirely for 'easier' subjects after their GCSEs. The Welsh Assembly Government has recognised the need to broaden post-16 education - the Westminster Government needs to catch up." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.