Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Creationism and Intelligent Design in AQA biology exam papers

In june 2009, a British examination board (AQA) featured this caper of a question in their GCSE Biology paper:
 AQA received a lot of criticism for the question because of it's misleading nature. It implies that Creationism and Intelligent Design are genuine theories within the field of biology. It also implies that this nonsense was being taught as part of the curriculum. Is it necessary to learn about alchemy to better understand chemistry, or to include astrology in physics and cosmology exams? No, so why is it necessary here? It's quite possible  that the word theory was being used in the sense that Muammar Gaddafi has a theory about how he is a  fashion god in charge of one of the happiest countries in the world. However, this is not an acceptable use of the word in a science paper.

Following the exam, the Daily Telegraph printed a story about the bizarre question. AQA replied with a swift response :
"Merely asking a question about creationism and intelligent design does not imply support for these ideas. Neither idea is included in our specification and AQA does not support the teaching of these ideas as scientific.

In the examination question, information was given to candidates and they were asked to relate evidence to conclusions. The use of the term 'theory' was intended in its common, everyday sense. However, we accept that in the context of a science examination this could be misleading and we will be addressing this issue for any future questions."
It seems they paid attention to the criticism because their 2010 Biology paper did not include any mention of Creationism or Intelligent Design. New Humanist magazine contacted AQA to see if these topics would feature in their 2011 paper. Their spokesperson responded by saying:
"The subject team have confirmed that future exam papers will not contain any questions on creationism or Intelligent Design."

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post...I needed something like this before going to work today.

    It is sad, that even today, this creationism rubbish still finds its way into our classrooms. Very sad.