Some lessons best left unlearnt 3

February 24, 2006

John Butcher says A levels have not been dumbed down. They certainly have. A-level Latin prose composition demands more or less verbatim translation into Latin instead of the stylish renditions that were once required, and students do not have to master as much vocabulary as they once did.

Butcher describes those who complain that A levels have got easier as "Cassandras ofJwoe". But the point about Cassandra is that she told the truth. Sadly, because of Apollo's curse no one believed her and so she was powerless to prevent disaster.

But then, as proponents of teaching and learning are always telling us, subject knowledge doesn't matter, skills do. So no doubt we can look forward to more mistakes such as this.

Deborah Day Wovlerhampton

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