Friday, June 15, 2007

Physics fiasco

I know about Maths, and I was coming to realise the degradation of the GCSE Physics syllabus as my younger daughter is going to take the exams this summer and next but this skewers the whole nonsense:

The thing that attracts pupils to physics is its precision. Here, at last, is a discipline that gives real answers that apply to the physical world. But that precision is now gone. Calculations — the very soul of physics — are absent from the new GCSE. Physics is a subject unpolluted by a torrent of malleable words, but now everything must be described in words.

In this course, pupils debate topics like global warming and nuclear power. Debate drives science, but pupils do not learn meaningful information about the topics they debate. Scientific argument is based on quantifiable evidence. The person with the better evidence, not the better rhetoric or talking points, wins. But my pupils now discuss the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear power plants, without any real understanding of how they work or what radiation is.

We have a severe shortage of physicists in the UK. This crap will not address it, in fact, it will do the opposite.
Hat tip: Devil's Kitchen.

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