No moar creationism in the GCSEs

February 17, 2011 • 2:26 pm

Re the post below, and the one on the 2009 GCSE exam that contained creationism-friendly material: Paul Sims, news editor at New Humanist, has contacted the AQA (the board that supervises the British exams), expressing concern about covert creationism.  The AQA has verified that questions about creationism are henceforth kaput on the GCSEs:

“The subject team have confirmed that future exam papers will not contain any questions on creationism or Intelligent Design.”

So can we have creationist “theory” removed from the textbooks and prep material now?

34 thoughts on “No moar creationism in the GCSEs

  1. I still am curious to know what lax standards/moronic writers/whatever else contributed to getting the questions there in the first place…
    Not that this isn’t good news.

      1. Yes but I still want to know the specifics. That would make it easier to access whether or not the contributing factors have been properly address so as to minimize future deceptive practices. The christians aren’t in the habit of accepting their failures, instead they tend to refocus their efforts. If we don’t know the specifics we are still blind as to where we should be watching.

  2. That sounds wonderful but I, for one, will be keeping my eye on the situation.
    One of my duties in the school I work is to invigilate exams so I’ll make sure I’m there when Biology and Science in general is being taken.

    1. And as you & others pointed out the support material in that book was rubbish. Creationism is nothing to do with science & everything to do with fairy stories.

    1. Get a haircut, hipee!

      just kidding.

      no, seriously, nice job. It takes guts to do this.

      one suggestion:

      use more light, and don’t let your vidcam use autofocus; it kept blurring in and out.

      1. Thanks for that advice. I’m more of a still photographer than a videoer (is that a word?) and it was put together pretty quick after I’d made a few false starts.so didn’t give the lighting much thought as I moved towards the camera.
        As for the hair, well hahaha…..yeh, I prefer the term ‘loose indie/emo style’ as it fits in with the latest trends amongst the school kids. When you’re working with kids in the classroom it’s always easier to get your point across if they can relate to you so if you try and look at least a little bit trendy (despite being nearly middle aged) then you get a certain kudos from the kids that the ‘boring, plain old teachers’ just don’t get.
        This is OK for we use the good cop/bad cop routine to keep them in check, the teacher obviously being the bad cop and me being the good cop.
        It works most of the time and if it doesn’t we just draw our guns and fill them full of lead.
        *Obviously that last bit was just a joke. LOL*

        *Or was it????!!!!!!*

    2. Well done six45ive – thanks for keeping watch – we all have to be alert for nonsense in this dangerous anti-rational age.

    3. Were you a Stone Roses fan by any chance?

      Good work, but as noted above it wasn’t light enough so I could barely read the pages. Where’s Ken Morse and his rostrum camera when you need him?

      I don’t remember there being anything about evolution in my O level Biology (1980).

      1. Not a Stone Roses fan. I’m a little older than that bearing in mind I did my ‘O’ levels (it was called 16+ at the time…..remember that? It didn’t last very long and caused a lot of confusion amongst employers) in 1981 (that gives my age away).

        My fave bands are Rush and AC/DC with an affection for Def Leppard as they come from my home town of Sheffield.

        As for the lighting (or lack of it), didn’t you know we’ve only just got electricity up here in Sheffield and the providers actually want paying for providing it!!!??? CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!!??? I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous!

        *The last bit is an in joke amongst us brits for any non brits reading this*

        1. Ah, could have sworn that was a Madchester haircut rather than a metal one. Sorry, this isn’t a blog about haircuts and bands is it? Its a blog about cats and boots.

          Having lived in Sheffield for most of the 1980s I can say that by that time the people of Sheffield reacted to electricity with curiosity, not fear, as the magic pixie lights allowed them to go outside after sundown for the first time.

  3. As others have noted, there’s a glaring gap in the New Humanist’s coverage: Why did this happen in the first place? How did it happen? Is anyone at New Humanist asking for answers to these questions?

  4. Also, there are multiple exam boards for GCSEs; AQA is just one of them. Was the textbook from the second post even affiliated with the AQA syllabus?

    But hey… that was easy wasn’t it?

    1. I was going to ask about this… Sure, the AQA says no to questions about creationism. But, what about the textbook? Will they also get rid of creationism there? Do they really have the power to say “no”, and have it stick?

      1. This has yet to be seen for, as I’ve already mentioned, my school is getting new books in September.
        The textbook/revision book I’ve been showing with creationism in have been OCR books not AQA.
        We will be moving from OCR to AQA in September.

  5. You wonder how not only creationism, but also the silly notion of ID got in there in the first place, if not by some kook with an agenda. To remove that person from the pool of people who put together exams for children in the UK would be nice.
    But as Jerry says, it’s only the first step, the prep material and books also have to be cleaned of that shit.

  6. I suspect there is only an indirect link between the revision books inclusion of creationism and the exam question. In UK education in recent years there has been two factors that increase the likelihood of creationism cropping up in biology. First a general dumbing down of questions – essentially a policy of including things associated with a subject that the pupil might come across outside the classroom, rather than the older style rote-learning policy of just learning the essential ‘facts’. Since creationism has a bigger media presence in the UK compared to a decade or two ago then this would explain why it might (mistakenly!) appear on an exam question.
    As for the revision book, I suspect this is more a commercial decision by the publisher based on the second factor. Thanks to Tony Blair there are now quite a few ‘faith schools’ in the UK that really do teach creationism – probably alongside real science (they both have to pass the same exams, after all). Including a small section on creationism in a biology book makes commercial sense because it then makes it marketable to these faith schools.

  7. Checked with my Head of Science this morning and he has confirmed that we will be doing a new Y10 syllabus in September which includes new books. However the old books will not necessarily be removed. What usually happens is that if teachers still feel comfortable in using old books then as long as the information is relavent to the new syllabus they can carry on using them.
    He also confirmed that we will be moving over to AQA from OCR so I’ll be making sure I have a good look at the books.

  8. There’s going to be a delay on the next video installment of my experience of creationism in science classes due to my home computer becoming kaput. I’ve ordered a new one but it’ll take a few days to arrive so I’ll get it uploaded as soon as I can when it comes.

  9. So…..as promised and about a week later than I’d hoped, here’s part 2 of my experience of how the books I previously linked to came to light. Once again apologies for the poor light and the camera going in and out of focus.

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