UK Government agency finds creationist qualifications are equivalent to A-Levels

The National Academic Recognition Information Centre (Naric), the UK National Agency responsible for advising universities and employers on the worth of qualifications, has decided that Christian fundamentalist qualifications are worth the same as A-Levels. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed concern at the conclusion.

The International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE) is offered by around 50 private Christian schools across the UK, as part of the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum. ACE’s self-defined Christian fundamentalist curriculum includes arguments such as that the Loch Ness monster disproves evolution and that there is no biological basis for homosexuality.

Three years ago, Naric announced that it considered the ICCE to be worth the same as international O-levels and A-levels offered by the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) board. Naric initially defended its actions, arguing that the content of qualifications is outside its remit, and so the BHA wrote to the Government to argue that this was wrong. Naric subsequently committed to reviewing all ICCE qualifications.

Following on from their review, which apparently did now include ‘analyses of the qualifications’ core components in terms of learning outcomes, content… and quality assurance’, Naric have now concluded that they still think ICCE qualifications are comparable to CIE O-levels and A-levels.

BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘How can a science qualification that is so far removed from the evidence on matters of evolution possibly be worth the equivalent of a CIE A Level in biology? It seems clear that Naric are still failing in their duty to properly assess the ICCE, and therefore failing to ensure that many children receive an accurate, rigorous science education.’

Jonny Scaramanga went to a school that taught the ACE curriculum as a child, and now as an adult campaigns against the fundamentalist teachings. Mr Scaramanga commented, ‘The ICCE takes most of its materials from Accelerated Christian Education. ACE tests almost entirely with simple recall questions, usually in the form of multiple choice. These means of assessment frequently do not require understanding, let alone higher-order thinking skills. Ignoring any concerns about content, it’s hard to see how this can be considered as academically rigorous as a GCSE or A-level.’

‘Educational researchers have also commented on how the curriculum writers at times distort the truth in order to fit their own bias. The curriculum does not permit the discussion of alternative views. This seems antithetical to preparing students either for higher education or employment.’

Notes

For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson at [email protected] or on 0781 55 89 636.

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on countering creationism: http://www.humanism.org.uk/campaigns/religion-and-schools/countering-creationism

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.