Teacher union outlines alternative English papers

PUPILS would be asked to imagine they were 14-year-olds in ancient Rome on the Ides of March, 44 BC, to assess their understanding of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar as part of an alternative assessment blueprint produced by teachers.

The National Union of Teachers yesterday published a paper prepared by Professor Brian Cox, head of the original government working party on English, outlining suggestions for tests which would be more acceptable to teachers.

Unlike the government tests, the tests would not be divided into tiers and 80 per cent of the marks would be allocated by teacher assessment and only 20 per cent by timed external tests. Shakespeare would be tested by a coursework assignment, instead of the Government's timed test, and teachers would be free to choose which play was studied. The assignment would include a piece of drama, a discussion of issues such as the reasons for Caesar's assassination and a piece of written work.