May 24, 2010

Is the Religious Studies GCSE too easy?

by Sara Levy

Religious Studies has been branded a “pathetically easy” subject after GCSE students were asked to identify Mary and Joseph in a nativity scene as part of their exam.

Students were shown a picture of two adults standing beside a crib in a barn and asked to “name the two people”.

Another question in the GCSE exam asked students to explain why Christmas is “an important festival for Christians”.

Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said the questions “would be more suitable for primary school age children.”

He added: “Simple facts like this should be general knowledge, they should not be part of a GCSE exam for 16-year-olds.”

Exam board AQA, which wrote the exam paper, defended its choice of questions.

“Papers are written to include questions that accommodate varying levels of ability,” an AQA spokesperson said.

“This question is worth two marks out of 83 and is part of a series of questions that increase in difficulty.

“The subsequent, more open-ended questions, require longer and more complex answers and are worth more points.”

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