Dept. of Our Their Collapsing Schools

Via Ravenwood (via…) comes this story of the education system in Mother England that, if anything, seems to be catapulting down the slippery slope faster than ours.

You Haven’t ‘Failed’ – You’ve ‘Nearly Passed’

Pupils across Lincolnshire may soon be able to sit exams without fear of failing, when new government guidelines come into effect.

The guidelines, for marking key national curriculum exams, recommend that the current F grade, for ‘fail’, should be replaced with an N grade, for ‘nearly’.

“Nearly’ what? “Nearly exhibited brain function?”

The guidelines were sent out to markers of this summer’s exams by the Government’s Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

They include instructions that maths exam answers should be marked as either ‘creditworthy’ or ‘not creditworthy’, rather than correct or incorrect.

So, the math used to smash a probe into Mars rather than establish orbit around it would have been graded as “not creditworthy?”

This is a perfect example of George Orwell’s “Newspeak:”

The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, (English Socialism) but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever. To give a single example. The word free still existed in Newspeak, but it could only be used in such statements as ‘This dog is free from lice’ or ‘This field is free from weeds’. It could not be used in its old sense of ‘politically free’ or ‘intellectually free’ since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself, and no word that could be dispensed with was allowed to survive. Newspeak was designed not to extend but to diminish the range of thought, and this purpose was indirectly assisted by cutting the choice of words down to a minimum.

As I’ve said before, it looks like Orwell just missed by a decade or four. To continue:

The changes cover English, maths and science exams at key stages one, two and three, which are taken by seven-, 11- and 14-year-olds.

Youngsters who do not achieve a minimum mark, where the tests have a target of levels three to five, can be given a ‘compensatory level two’ award.

Which means what? “Well, Johnny, you nearly passed the test, so here’s your level two award!

A spokesman for the authority denied that the marking scheme blurred the distinction between passing and failing.

The spokesman said the use of ‘creditworthy’ was appropriate because some answers to maths questions were worth several marks, and it was possible to get some marks even if the final answer was wrong.

Nick Seaton, the chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, described the changes as “political correctness gone stark raving bonkers”.

He said educational managers were afraid to use the words ‘right’, ‘wrong’ and ‘fail’.

They’re not afraid, Mr. Seaton, they’re doing this with deliberate intent.

The local Junior High Middle School I drive by every morning on my way to work has a marquee out front on which they post, generally weekly, a slogan or the names of the latest award winners or some such. For the last two weeks or so the slogan has been (IIRC)

“Failure is success if you learn from it.”

Particularly if you learn that failing nearly passing the seventh grade does not mean you get promoted to the eighth grade anyway.

And this is another example that Connie du Toit is right.

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