We reap what we sew: perpetuating biblical illiteracy in new English religious studies exams and the proof text binary question
Bowie, R. A. and Coles, R. 2018. We reap what we sew: perpetuating biblical illiteracy in new English religious studies exams and the proof text binary question. British Journal of Religious Education. 40 (3), pp. 277-287. https://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2018.1493270
|Authors||Bowie, R. A. and Coles, R.|
This article draws on three sources of evidence that together indicate hermeneutical weaknesses in exam courses on Christianity in English Religious Education (RE). It scrutinizes a single exam paper and an associated text book from a recent authorized course. It conceptually explores features of a new style of long Religious Studies (RS) exam question that is commonly set for the majority of students studying for a RS qualification at 15-16 years old. It combines these documentary sources with a focus group interview of teachers in the first year of teaching the new GCSE Religious Studies.
The findings from the document analysis, conceptual analysis and focus group interview, together concur that there is a problem related to the use of fragmentary texts and the promotion of a particularly propositional conception of religion. These features are structured in by systemic elements. A small proportion of students follow text-based GCSE routes include a more detailed study of Biblical texts but the majority of 15-16-year-old students do not and so are exposed to this problem. These weaknesses could be ‘designed out’ of exams with smarter questions and mitigated against by curriculum content that specified the study of how texts are interpreted, as well as teacher expertise in the teaching and practice of hermeneutics.
|Keywords||Bible; Christianity; hermeneutics; exams; proof-text; binary questions|
|Journal||British Journal of Religious Education|
|Journal citation||40 (3), pp. 277-287|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1080/01416200.2018.1493270|
|Online||20 Jul 2018|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||27 Jun 2018|
|Accepted||25 Jun 2018|
|Accepted author manuscript|
Aldridge, D. 2015. A Hermeneutics of Religious Education. London, Bloomsbury.
AQA 2016. GCSE Religious Studies A 8062/1A and 8062/1B The Study of Religions Papers 1A and 1B Mark Scheme 2018 Specimen. [Online] Available at: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/rs/AQA-80621-SMS-ADD.PDF
AQA 2018. GCSE Religious Studies A: Paper 1: Christianity. Monday 14 May 2018. AQA.
Bowie, R. 2018 ‘Interpreting texts more wisely: A review of research and the case for change in English Religious Education’ in Christian Faith, Formation and Education, Edited by John Shortt and Ros Stuart-Buttle, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.211-228.
Bowie, R. 2017. ‘Stepping into the text: How the Jesuits taught me to read the bible’ In Reenchanting the Academy, edited by A Voss and S. Wilson, New Zealand and USA: Rubedo Press, pp. 139-156.
Church of England Archbishops’ Council Education Division and the National Society. 2014. Making a Difference? A Review of Religious Education in 537 English Schools [online]. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from https://www.churchofengland.org/education/publications.aspx
Conroy, J., Lundie, D., Davis, R., Baumfield, V., Barnes, P., Gallagher, T., Lowden, K., Bourke, N., and Wendell, K. 2015, Does Religious Education Work? London: Bloomsbury.
Cooling, T., Green, B., Morris, A., & Revell, L. 2016. Christian Faith in English Church Schools: Research Conversations with Classroom Teachers. Oxford: Peter Lang.
DfE. 2015. Religious Studies GCSE Subject Content. London: Crown. Fleming, M. et al 2009. Religious Studies B: Religion and Morality: Nelson Thrones, Cheltenham.
Copley, T, Freathy, R, Walshe, K. 2001. Where Angles Fear to Tread: The second report of The Biblos Project. Exeter: University of Exeter.
Copley, T, Freathy, R, Walshe, K. 2004. Teaching Biblical Narrative: A Summary of the main findings of The Biblos Project, 1996 to 2004. Exeter: University of Exeter.
Eduqas. 2018. GCSE [New] Religious Studies Route A - Component 2 Christianity. Wednesday 16 May 2018. WJEC CBAC.
Fancourt, N. 2017. Teaching About Christianity: A Congurative Review of Research in English Schools. Journal of Beliefs and Values, 38(1), 121–133.
Gangel, K. O. & Sullivan, C. 1995. Evangelical Theology and Religious Education in Miller, R. C. (ed.) Theologies of Religious Education. Birmingham, Alabama: Religious Education Press.
Green, J B. (Ed) 2010. Hearing the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans.
Green, J B. 2011. Practicing Theological Interpretation: Engaging biblical texts for faith and formation. Grand Rapids, Baker Academic.
JCQ CIC. 2017. GCSE Full Course by Age UK [online]. Retrieved March 29, 618 2017, from http://www.jcq.org.uk/examination-results/gcses/2016/gcse-full- 619 course-uk-by-age-2016
Joyce, P. 2003. 'Proverbs 8 In Interpretation (I): Historical Criticism and Beyond.' In David Ford and Graham Stanton (Eds.) Reading Texts, Seeking Wisdom: Scripture and Theology. London, SCM press, pp. 89-101.
Lewin, D. 2017. Educational Philosophy for a Post-secular Age. Abingdon, Routledge.
Ofsted. 2007. Making Sense of Religion. London: HMSO.
Ofsted. 2010. Transforming Religious Education. London: HMSO.
Ofsted. 2013. Religious Education: Realising the Potential. London: HMSO.
OCR 2016. GCSE (9-1) Religious Studies J625/01 Christianity; Beliefs and teachings & Practices; Sample Question Paper. OCR.
Pollefeyt, D. 2013. ‘The lustre of life: Hermeneutic–communicative concept of
Reed, E., Freathy, R., Cornwell, S., Davis, A. 2013. Narrative theology in Religious Education. British Journal of Religious Education. [Online] Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01416200.2013.785931. [Accessed: 30th May 2016].
Stoble, L. 1998. The Case for Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, p. 163.
Thiselton, A. 2003. Hermeneutics: An Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
Towey, A. and Robinson, P. 2016. The New GCSE Religious Studies Course for Catholic Schools: Component 1 Catholic Christianity. Chawton: Redemptorist publications.
Vanhoozer, K. 2002. First Theology: God, Scripture & Hermeneutics. Leicester: Apollos.
Wright, N. T. 2005. Scripture and the Authority of God. London: SPCK.
Young, F. 2003. 'Proverbs 8 In Interpretation (II): Wisdom Personified.' In David Ford and Graham Stanton (Eds.) Reading Texts, Seeking Wisdom: Scripture and Theology. London, SCM press, pp. 89-101.
2views this month
2downloads this month