Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021

Exam paper for 13-year-olds in 1944 stuns public for being unbelievably hard

GMB: Robert Winston argues homework should be reduced

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The old history exam paper from 1944 asks third year pupils to answer detailed questions about the union of the Scottish and English parliaments as well as the Battle of Carham, The Darien Scheme and the Marquis of Montrose.

Another question asks students to explain how John Knox, Bonnie Dundee, Archbishop Laud, Agricola, Thomas Telford or Queen Margaret played a part in Scottish history.

The next asks pupils to name three Scotsmen, living in the nineteeth century, who achieved distinction in exploration or scientific discovery

Posting a picture of the paper on Twitter, the user wrote: “This exam paper shows what 13-year-old school children in Inverness in 1944 were expected to know. Try it.”

The tweet has been liked thousands of times and even retweeted by TV presenter and archaeologist Neil Oliver. He commented: “This is quite inspirational, or maybe aspirational.”

Another user replied: “I don’t think most current year history undergrads could do this very well.”

A third commented: “Young people today would not recognise the majority of these names or events.”

Another said: “This should be a wake up call to the state of Scottish education. There is no chance our children could answer this. Is it any wonder we no longer produce the great minds that we were once so famous for?”

One user defended young people today saying: “That is all very well but a lot has happened since then. JFK, the Cold War, the Cones Hotline. That is what children should be learning about in history these days.”

Another praised the Scottish patriotism in the exam paper, saying: “Note the Scottish focus of the exam paper, it shows off brilliantly that history teaching can provide a bed rock for students to understand their country and their place in time to create truly comprehending citizens.”

It comes as Dr Robert Winston has called for homework to be scrapped. He said on Good Morning Britain today: “There is far too much homework and it should be reduced.

“The evidence that it actually produces a better achievement is just not there. There is no statistical evidence and I think we need to listen to teachers.

“They are already under massive strain at the moment for several reasons, not just because of Covid.

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“But they are actually having to work very hard and to add to that burden is a very serious issue.

“My view is if it’s not doing the child any good, what they should be doing at home is quite different in my view from doing homework. I think either no homework or very limited homework.”

Those tuning in were divided over the debate and took to Twitter to share their thoughts with one commenting: “School homework is more stressful for parents than children. At primary school it should just be reading, spelling and some maths.”

Another added: “As a teacher, parent and now a grandparent, I can honestly say never has so much time been wasted on so much effort for such little reward. Homework should be learning to swim, skip , ride a bike and socialise.”

A third disagreed, saying: “They need homework ! Not just for grades but for work ethic.”

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