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Universities might not be quite where to abandon spelling as a requirement

Summary:
We can forsee the occasional problem here:University tutors are being told not to dock marks for spelling mistakes because requiring good English could be seen as “homogenous north European, white, male, elite”. Several universities are adopting “inclusive assessments” as part of an effort to narrow the attainment gap between white and black, Asian and minority ethnic students and to reduce higher dropout rates among those from poorer backgrounds.We even think the reasoning itself is wrong. Having the one standard language that all must learn and communicate in means that all, of any background - or race, ethnicity, skin colour and so on - have an equal chance to show their knowledge and skill. For example, an inability to distinguish between homoiousian, homoousion and homoian is going to

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We can forsee the occasional problem here:

University tutors are being told not to dock marks for spelling mistakes because requiring good English could be seen as “homogenous north European, white, male, elite”.

Several universities are adopting “inclusive assessments” as part of an effort to narrow the attainment gap between white and black, Asian and minority ethnic students and to reduce higher dropout rates among those from poorer backgrounds.

We even think the reasoning itself is wrong. Having the one standard language that all must learn and communicate in means that all, of any background - or race, ethnicity, skin colour and so on - have an equal chance to show their knowledge and skill.

For example, an inability to distinguish between homoiousian, homoousion and homoian is going to make theology of any Christian tincture rather difficult. So too much history of the first millennium AD.

However, we’re intensely relaxed about the attempt. For this is the very point of a market in higher education, as with other things. It is market experimentation that drives the world forward and that, inevitably, will include trying all the mistakes, all the things that don’t work. The trick is making sure we learn from them, not attempting to prevent their happening.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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