May 29, 2012
British exam board criticized for question on prejudice against Jews
One of Britain’s leading exam boards is facing criticism for asking high school students to explain why there is prejudice against Jews.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has condemned an exam question in which students were asked in a religious studies test, “Explain, briefly, why some people are prejudiced against Jews.”
More than 1,000 students took the may 25 exam given by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, or AQA, one of three major English exam boards.
The exam boards create the test questions, grade the exams and distribute the results.
“To suggest that anti-Semitism can ever be explained rather than condemned is insensitive and, frankly, bizarre,” Gove told the Jewish Chronicle. “AQA needs to explain how and why this question was included in an exam paper.”
According to AQA’s spokesperson, the relevant part of the syllabus covers prejudice and discrimination with reference to race, religion and the Jewish experience of persecution.
“We would expect [students to refer] to the Holocaust to illustrate prejudice based on irrational fear, ignorance and scapegoating,” AQA’s spokesperson told the Jewish Chronicle.