As our students in the Biology department follow the AQA specification, I got a chance to look at the famous ‘shrew’ paper. My first thought was that the paper had a lot of good biology in it.  It was heavy on statistics and the shrew question did go on a bit.  I must admit that the questions were a bit meandering and irrelevant at times.  The mock paper that is circulating the internerd sums it up well:

“b) A fandango is an organism which doesn’t exist. Below is a graph of the number of fandango sighted in a particular yard. This yard was a pretty yard with many flowers and bees surrounded by a selection of insects including a preying mantice. The praying mantice enjoys eating nettles because it gets a bit of a kick out of them. You may have realised by now that this paragraph is merely idle talk and, in no way relates to biology or the question.”

So, I thought the science was OK until I looked at the specification and read what the students had to study and revise for the examination…….SHOCKING!  I imagine that there were a lot of students who wondered why they studied and revised for the test at a all.  A face book user expresses this sentiment on the facebook group:

“WTF is the Hair Tube Index???????!!?!?!?!?!??!!?!?!?
Geese, Daffodils, SHREWS!!!!
WTH happened to Calvin Cycle, Inheritance, Hardy-Weinberg Priniciple [sic], Eutrophication!!!!
AQA=FAIL”

Again, the mock paper has something to say on the matter:

“f) List the items on the specification which we did NOT choose to include in this paper. (You may need extra paper).”

It does seem to be still a news item but the exam board have not really said much on the matter so far.  Although, I have heard rumours (only rumours so far) that some schools are considering writing the AQA to express their disappointment and concerns.  The plot thickens.