Lord Quirk asked a question today about taking measures to improve performance in written and spoken English throughout the education system. So many peers rose to their feet wishing to participate that very few could be heard. Had I been one of them, I would have asked the Minister to tell schools and universities to deduct marks for poor spelling and grammar when marking assignments. Many of the teachers and lecturers give the impression to their students that expressing themselves in their writing is all that matters, regardless of accuracy. Some of the students think that spell check will take care of any mistakes they make. It is time for standards of accuracy to be reimposed.
Dyslexia is widespread. I have no doubt that the condition exists, but it needs to be diagnosed early in the student’s life, not merely asserted by the student as a mitigating factor after receiving a poor mark in an exam or assignment. When I was dealing with student complaints, many of them concerned what reasonable adjustments a university should make for dyslexic students, and it is a most complex question, especially when raised at the higher education level. Maybe all secondary schools should check students for dyslexia as soon as they start.