TweetEarlier this year, Naric, a UK government agency, recognised the International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE) as comparable to Cambridge International A-Level standard. This is a travesty, and not just because of Creationism. ICCE is the certificate students get for completing the fundamentalist Accelerated Christian Education system, which teaches Young Earth Creationism and Biblical literalism as fact. It has recently been in the news for using the Loch Ness Monster as evidence of Creationism.
The first time Naric made this judgement was in 2008. It came to public attention in 2009, and Naric’s defence was that they didn’t look at curriculum content, only academic rigour.
This is hard to believe (and their spokesman later backpedalled in a phonecall). For the sake of argument, though, let’s accept this position. They are saying that ACE School of Tomorrow materials are as academically rigorous as CIE A-levels, ignoring the content.
This is simply false. Tests within Accelerated Christian Education are laughably easy. Naric has said that their validation only applies to ICCE as a whole, not ACE materials in isolation (the ICCE also requires completion of some extra essays and science projects in addition to ACE), but this is a false dichotomy.
The ICCE requires students to gain at least 80% of their credits from ACE. If the ACE materials are inadequate, the whole qualification is invalid.
Here are some genuine example questions from ACE’s 9th grade tests (that’s Year 10 for British users – GCSE level). These are from current PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education) purchased earlier this month.
1. “The two events which are the focal points of world history are the _____________ Advents of Jesus Christ.” a. First and Second b. Second and Fourth c. Seventh and Eighth
2. “The very next event on God’s calendar is the __________ Coming of Jesus Christ.” a. First b. Second c. Sixth
3. “The leader of the Katanga Province was _________________.” a. Patrick Henry b. Mohammed Ali c. Moise Tshombe
4. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tensing Morkay were the first two men to climb Mount_________ a. Everest b. Lemmon c. McKinley.
True or False: Moses was given God’s Law on Mt. Sanai.
Egypt is located on the continent of ____________.
New Testament Survey
True or false: The angel that announced both the birth of John and Jesus was Gabriel.
True or false: The inspiration of Scripture does not destroy the individuality of the writer.
Mark wrote his Gospel primarily to the ____________ in Rome.
__________________ formulated the theory of evolution A. Gregor Mendel B. Adolf Hitler C. Charles Darwin D. Charles Mendel
__________________ is the study of inherited characteristics. A. Embryology B. Genetics C. Cytology D. Biology
Does it get harder higher up the grades? These are questions from a 12th grade (Year 13, Upper Sixth UK) Economics test:
_______________ is the excess of total revenue over total cost.
Our _____________ are limited, but our wants are unlimited.
When demand is greater than supply, prices are usually _________ than when the reverse is true.
______________ is a single business that is the only source for a good or service. A. Monopoly, B. Trust, C. Entrepreneur, D. Competition.
You can smell the academic rigour from here.
What Can You Do?
So far, Naric has been evasive in answering questions about how they reached their conclusion. Beyond what is written at its website, Naric has declined to answer questions on methodology or the content of ICCE materials.
You could write to Naric and ask questions about the reasons for the lack of transparency, as well as asking for more information on how the study was conducted.
You could also write to your MP. This is particularly relevant if there’s an ACE school in your area. A directory of ACE schools can be found here, but this lists only half of the UK’s ACE schools, so it’s still worth googling “Accelerated Christian Education” and the name of your constituency. Not listed on that directory is the ACE school in Hull, for instance.
Naric’s contract is with the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills, so it’s worth contacting the relevant minister, David Willetts MP, to voice your concerns.
You can also write to – or write a story for – your local newspaper. If you live near an ACE school, the local newspaper would undoubtedly be interested to know about the school that covers Nessie in science.