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RE not counted as a humanity in the Govt's new GCSE 'EBacc' Watch

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    (Original post by yawn)
    Your school was a Catholic school...what else do you expect but to be immersed in an ethos based on Catholic teaching? If you attended a Jewish, Muslim or Sikh school you would find exactly the same...an ethos that is based on the individual teachings of those faiths. If you didn't like it, you should have found a different school to attend, and freed up a place for someone who really did want such an education.
    I wasn't complaining as such. As I said, most aspects of the teaching were pretty normal and you wouldn't have guessed it was a Catholic school. It was an excellent school overall, and although I wasn't a great fan of the RE course, other subjects more than made up for it.

    (Original post by yawn)

    You're not an atheist, you're an agnostic.


    I'm not interested in pursuing this particular line of debate since it is moving away from the OP. Thanks for your input anyway.
    Actually the closest definition for what my belief is is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnostic_atheism, "agnostic athiesm". Definitions seem to vary but I generally refer to myself as an atheist, and as far as I can tell, rightly so. To quote: "Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity."

    And fair enough yeah, just thought I should make this response. But don't feel obliged to respond.
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      (Original post by medbh4805)
      AQA 2B Roman Catholic Tradition

      It also minimalised or omitted completely the theological arguments against issues such as women priests. :rolleyes:
      That's probably on account that women priests are not part of Catholic Tradition and therefore would not be included in a unit that is based on Catholic Tradition since it's irrelevant.
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      (Original post by yawn)
      That's probably on account that women priests are not part of Catholic Tradition and therefore would not be included in a unit that is based on Catholic Tradition since it's irrelevant.
      No, what I was referring to was discursive essays included in the spec such as

      "The Catholic church should ordain women priests"
      "Roman Catholics should not use artificial contraception"
      "Roman Catholic Priests should be allowed to marry"

      The textbook produced by the exam board provided arguments for and against each point but for some reason minimalised or omitted completely the theological and biblical arguments affirming the Church's position. What the specification taught could therefore be seen as a watered down, liberalised form of Catholicism.

      I'm a traditionalist, and therefore found this quite frustrating. :pierre:
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        And so it should be really.

        Let's look at some questions from a random paper:

        Describe one type of religious art other than painting. (3 marks)

        ‘Too much money is spent on religious buildings.’ What do you think? Explain your opinion. (3 marks)

        Explain, using examples, how religions use music. (4 marks)

        Explain briefly why religious believers use the Internet in their religious belief. (3 marks)

        Name two pieces of religious literature. (2 marks)

        Explain the impact of religious art on those looking at it. (4 marks)

        Actually from looking at this paper, it's even easier than the one I'm doing. :lolwut:
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          (Original post by medbh4805)
          No, what I was referring to was discursive essays included in the spec such as

          "The Catholic church should ordain women priests"
          "Roman Catholics should not use artificial contraception"
          "Roman Catholic Priests should be allowed to marry"

          The textbook produced by the exam board provided arguments for and against each point but for some reason minimalised or omitted completely the theological and biblical arguments affirming the Church's position. What the specification taught could therefore be seen as a watered down, liberalised form of Catholicism.

          I'm a traditionalist, and therefore found this quite frustrating. :pierre:
          I can understand your frustration. Who writes these Unit papers anyway?
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            (Original post by im so academic)
            And so it should be really.

            Let's look at some questions from a random paper:

            Describe one type of religious art other than painting. (3 marks)

            ‘Too much money is spent on religious buildings.’ What do you think? Explain your opinion. (3 marks)

            Explain, using examples, how religions use music. (4 marks)

            Explain briefly why religious believers use the Internet in their religious belief. (3 marks)

            Name two pieces of religious literature. (2 marks)

            Explain the impact of religious art on those looking at it. (4 marks)

            Actually from looking at this paper, it's even easier than the one I'm doing. :lolwut:
            Aren't GCSE papers tiered according to the academic ability of the examinee? Maybe this paper is foundation level for the less academic, and there would be another, more challenging paper for the more academically able.
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              (Original post by yawn)
              Aren't GCSE papers tiered according to the academic ability of the examinee? Maybe this paper is foundation level for the less academic, and there would be another, more challenging paper for the more academically able.
              No, in RE there are no tiers. This is a paper which can be graded from A*-U. I believe the same is for all RE specifications.
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              Cool story.
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                (Original post by im so academic)
                No, in RE there are no tiers. This is a paper which can be graded from A*-U. I believe the same is for all RE specifications.
                I guess the differentiation in marks is due entirely to the substantive element in the explanations given by the examinee then.
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                  (Original post by yawn)
                  I guess the differentiation in marks is due entirely to the substantive element in the explanations given by the examinee then.
                  Nope.This is the mark scheme for the paper that I have quoted.

                  Let's look at some examples:

                  ‘Religious art is very effective at expressing a spiritual message.’

                  To get 3 marks: Opinion supported by one well developed reason or several simple reasons.

                  Opinion? One developed reason? Or several simple reasons?

                  Explain the impact of religious art on those looking at it.

                  To get 4 marks: A clear knowledge and understanding with some development and / or analysis.

                  In other words make up any crap that fulfills the exam criteria.

                  ‘Religious buildings are needed because God must have a home.’ Do you agree? Give reasons and explain your answer, showing you have thought about
                  more than one point of view.

                  To get 6 marks: A well-argued response, with evidence of reasoned consideration of two different points of view
                  showing informed insights and ability to apply knowledge and understanding of religion effectively.


                  Hardly that difficult for an A* student is it?
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                  (Original post by yawn)
                  You're not an atheist, you're an agnostic.

                  ...

                  Theism = belief in gods or a God, especially a God supernaturally revealed to Man.

                  Atheism = belief that there is no god.

                  Agnosticism = a belief that the existence of God is not provable.

                  I'm not interested in pursuing this particular line of debate since it is moving away from the OP. Thanks for your input anyway.
                  I just want to say that this shows why distinctions between atheists are important. You can have a belief that God is not provable and lack a belief in God. Atheism only requires a lack of belief, not a belief in no.

                  On the OP's question..
                  Maybe RE would be useful to clear up these kind of issues. But then again, the RE that I was taught was so full of falsehoods and misrepresentations of other people's beliefs, maybe not. I do think that if done properly, it would be beneficial for kids to learn about other people's religions for a very short time at school, just to try and combat the prejudice between different groups of people. But necessary? No. It can be helpful, just like we had some time for PSHE+C and in sixth form, had some speakers come in to talk about cancer and disabilities and drink-driving etc.
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                    (Original post by im so academic)
                    Nope.This is the mark scheme for the paper that I have quoted.

                    Let's look at some examples:

                    ‘Religious art is very effective at expressing a spiritual message.’

                    To get 3 marks: Opinion supported by one well developed reason or several simple reasons.

                    Opinion? One developed reason? Or several simple reasons?

                    Explain the impact of religious art on those looking at it.

                    To get 4 marks: A clear knowledge and understanding with some development and / or analysis.

                    In other words make up any crap that fulfills the exam criteria.

                    ‘Religious buildings are needed because God must have a home.’ Do you agree? Give reasons and explain your answer, showing you have thought about
                    more than one point of view.

                    To get 6 marks: A well-argued response, with evidence of reasoned consideration of two different points of view
                    showing informed insights and ability to apply knowledge and understanding of religion effectively.


                    Hardly that difficult for an A* student is it?
                    The examination boards should make the examination challenging for all, regardless of academic ability.

                    As medbh said before, give the brighter ones something on Summa Theologica...and multiply the available marks by ten to allow for greater differentiation. Have you had a look at what the examiners expect so as to award a mark of 3 as opposed to 1?
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                      (Original post by yawn)
                      The examination boards should make the examination challenging for all, regardless of academic ability.

                      As medbh said before, give the brighter ones something on Summa Theologica...and multiply the available marks by ten to allow for greater differentiation. Have you had a look at what the examiners expect so as to award a mark of 3 as opposed to 1?
                      Why don't you read the document? Of course I've read what examiners expect when they award marks.

                      The fact is, GCSE RE is not a challenging qualification for those at the very top - evidence on TSR prevails.

                      Yeah, why don't we gives the brighter ones something on Summa Theologica? Why don't we bring back calculus into the pre-16 syllabus? Why don't we have proper science GCSEs as opposed to watered-down pseudoscience "qualifications"?

                      Alas, it won't happen.
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                        (Original post by im so academic)
                        The fact is, GCSE RE is not a challenging qualification for those at the very top - evidence on TSR prevails.
                        But it is challenge for many others. The EBacc which we are discussing is designed to be an award to encourage those who are struggling to get 5 good GCSEs. It's not designed to be for "those at the very top".

                        Anyway, your two suggestions for what might be challenging "for those at the very top" are pretty terrible. They both have limited value:

                        (Original post by im so academic)
                        Yeah, why don't we gives the brighter ones something on Summa Theologica?
                        We don't do that because it's a pretty good idea to have a basic understanding of philosophy before discussing history of philosophy.

                        (Original post by im so academic)
                        Why don't we bring back calculus into the pre-16 syllabus?
                        First, there is calculus in the 'additional maths' gcse. Second, we want students who can solve mathematical problems. Just teaching them more mechanical methods - which is what calculus at that level involves - isn't an appropriate challenge. It's just rewarding those who can act like monkeys, rather than encouraging "those at the very top" to develop problem-solving skills.

                        So you need to understand that [a] not all qualifications are designed for the best students in the class, and [b] we need to have a serious discussion about what is most appropriate for those who do find the current GCSEs easy, rather than believing we should just dump inappropriate work on them. That might end up putting them off the subjects they are good at, instead of encouraging them!
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                          (Original post by im so academic)
                          Why don't you read the document? Of course I've read what examiners expect when they award marks.
                          Calm down...I'm only trying to be supportive here.

                          Have you looked at this?

                          http://www.nelsonthornes.com/aqagcse...in_Society.pdf

                          To enable each student to maximise their efforts, they need to be encouraged to seek out further information beyond the syllabus that will increase their understanding and discernment. Examination syllabi is designed to encourage independent learning beyond the classroom...but of course, unless one has an inspirational teacher or very supportive parents, one often does not make self-effort a goal.

                          Let's remember too, that key stage 4 subjects are not examined on a 'norm referenced' basis where marks are awarded according to the standards of the particular cohort, but rather, they are examined on a 'criterion referenced' basis where the only consideration is whether one knows the answers.
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                          I really don't understand those who think RS is an "easy" subject, it's anything but. For my RS GCSE last year (OCR World Religions: Perspectives on Christian Ethics and Gospel of Luke), I had to learn 72 bible passages off by heart. I also had to learn the application of these bible passages, and various other doctrines that different denominations subscribe to. It really wasn't easy, I know that several people in my year struggled! Although we did well as a year, I think that the difficulty (and almost stupidity) of having to learn so many passages led to my school not offering that syllabus any more.

                          (Original post by medbh4805)
                          No, what I was referring to was discursive essays included in the spec such as

                          "The Catholic church should ordain women priests"
                          "Roman Catholics should not use artificial contraception"
                          "Roman Catholic Priests should be allowed to marry"

                          The textbook produced by the exam board provided arguments for and against each point but for some reason minimalised or omitted completely the theological and biblical arguments affirming the Church's position. What the specification taught could therefore be seen as a watered down, liberalised form of Catholicism.

                          I'm a traditionalist, and therefore found this quite frustrating. :pierre:

                          We had arguments like that on the lines of equality and contraception on our RS GCSE, and backed up by the biblical arguments as well, and it wasn't even specifically on Catholicism - it was the ethics paper and we had to look at different Christian viewpoints, so we had to learn the position of the Catholic Church on many issues, some not so controversial (such as nuclear disarmament) and some controversial (such as contraception, the role of women)...but in every single case, Catholic or non-Catholic, we had to learn the biblical arguments and the theological arguments.
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                          I don't think it's a vital subject. I did RE at school but they didn't have a GCSE in it while I was at school. Everyone I know who did do it though has said it was very easy and pretty pointless! I know the RE lessons I did do were fairly useless, so if it would have been a whole GCSE on that I would think it was a waste of time
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                          (Original post by ilyking)
                          personally I think RE should be scrapped all together so we have more space for maths/ engineering etc.

                          "Ey blad! Mans gonna pick RE A Level, Mad ting!", Ever heard that? yep.. half of the people who take RE at A level are mentally retarded 'gangter' people. They opt for it because it is easy.



                          Exemplar question:

                          "What is the meaning of the meaning of life? (30 marks)." I mean come on!

                          Yes I'm exaggerating a little bit here but I made my point clear
                          I'd actually find it harder to get all the 30 marks in that than all the 1-7 marks in the sciences.

                          A levels are hard compared to GCSEs anyway...just because it was easy at GCSE doesn't mean it'll be as easy at A level.
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                          I'd agree that RE/RS GCSE is far too easy, however, that doesn't mean the decision is right.
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                          (Original post by bazoolium)
                          We had arguments like that on the lines of equality and contraception on our RS GCSE, and backed up by the biblical arguments as well, and it wasn't even specifically on Catholicism - it was the ethics paper and we had to look at different Christian viewpoints, so we had to learn the position of the Catholic Church on many issues, some not so controversial (such as nuclear disarmament) and some controversial (such as contraception, the role of women)...but in every single case, Catholic or non-Catholic, we had to learn the biblical arguments and the theological arguments.
                          You studied a different exam board than I did, that could explain the difference. What is possible is that you were presented with some of the arguments, but not all of them.

                          When I did my GCSE, the argument given to us was
                          • Jesus only had male apostles
                          • Jesus was a man

                          Strawmen, easily defeated. These were not developed; more complex perspective, for example: that the priest represents Christ at the altar, and is acting out a ritual which involves the dynmaic between the bridegroom Christ and bride - the Church - and this necessarily entails that the priest be male. I don't believe that such an argument is beyond the scope of GCSE, students don't have to agree with it, but they should be presented with it.

                          Pauls comments on the matter were omitted completely, one of my classmates said to me recently "But it doesn't say there can't be women priests in the Bible" :facepalm:
                         
                         
                         
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