Thursday, February 6, 2014

More on the education award for the creationist zoo

The other day I wrote about a creationist zoo being awarded for the quality of education provided there, and, in the comments, you can see the letter I wrote to the awarding body. Here is their reply:
Thank you for recent email, please find our official statement below.

The Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge is the national accreditation for the provision of educational visits, which recognises good quality educational provision where risk is effectively managed. In order to be awarded the LOtC Quality Badge the provider must demonstrate that they meet 6 quality criteria relevant to these aspects. The formal education programme at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has been assessed and was found to have met these criteria.

Further information on the LOtC Quality Badge and the criteria can be found at

Kind regards,
The CLOtC Team
The criteria mentioned are:
  1. The provider has a process in place to assist users to plan the learning  experience effectively;
  2. The provider provides accurate information about its offer;
  3. The provider provides activities or experiences which meet learner needs;
  4. The provider reviews the experience and acts upon feedback;
  5. The provider meets the needs of users; and
  6. The provider has safety management processes in place to manage risk effectively. 
However, under each of these, there are a number of sub indicators. Now, as far as I can see, of these sub indicators, none seem to actually mention the quality of the information taught - it largely seems geared towards good pedagogy. The closest to the quality of the information appear to be these two sub indicators for criteria 3:

e) educational or instructional staff and volunteers are competent; and
f) there is a process in place for monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching and instruction.
I would call into question the competence of creationists who attempt to teach science. Likewise, the someone may be very good at teaching, however, if what they're teaching is nonsense, I would call that poor quality education.

These criteria imply that any old rubbish can be taught, so long as it is taught well, and that will count as quality education.

To me, this entirely invalidates the LOtC Quality Badge. The best teachers in the world are of no use if they are teaching known falsehoods as fact. In fact, such teachers leave their students worse off.

For me to have any trust in the LOtC Quality Badge, I would like a change to the criteria to take into account the quality of the material that is taught. Until then, the badge is meaningless, as the criteria are obviously not fit for purpose in assessing quality education.

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