Education: University challenge

Students at a `historic' university did not do well in basic tests of literacy, numeracy and general knowledge. If the question about Winnie the Pooh's favourite food had been left out of the cultural literacy questions, the average correct score for general knowledge would have been around 40 per cent.

Literacy

sample tests % correct responses

1 Multi-choice spelling questions, eg

embarrassment, maintenance. 68%

2 Underline the verb: gifted, guilty, given 71%

3 Is the sentence "Whose left that book behind?" correct or incorrect? 52%

4 In the phrase "It's Parliament is considered it's most complex." is the usage of "it's" correct or incorrect?

62%

5 Please circle the word which means "be deprived of, be defeated": loose, lose. 72%

6 Punctuate appropriately: questionnaires can be fun time is essential for satisfactory completion 58%

Numeracy

sample tests % correct responses

1. 4 (3 + 1) 83%

_________ = ?

2 + 2

2 24 - 2 x 6 = ? 44%

3 1/4 x 1/4 = ? 34%

4 Show 12.5% as a fraction 76%

5 (-20) + (-30) = ? 75%

Cultural literacy

sample tests % correct responses

1 Which British monarchs have reigned during the 20th century? 33%

2 How many countries were founder members of the European Economic Community? 15%

3 In which English county is

Cheltenham? 68%

4 Who or what was Confucius? 42%

5 Followers of which religion

worship Allah? 63%

6 What is Winnie the Pooh's favourite food? 93%

ANSWERS

LITERACY

1 Correct spelling is as cited in the test list.

2 "Given" and "gifted" are both past participles of verbs; "guilty" is an incorrect answer.

3 Incorrect; the correct form is "who's" (who has).

4 Incorrect; the possessive case has no apostrophe. It's = it is.

5 lose.

6 There are several possible punctuations which transmit clear meanings, but a comma after "fun" is insufficient to do so, and is therefore incorrect.

NUMERACY

1: 4 2: 12 3: 1/16 4: 1/8 5: -50

CULTURAL LITERACY

1 Victoria, Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, George VI, Elizabeth II

2 Six

3 Gloucestershire

4 A Chinese philosopher

5 Islam

6 Honey

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