Monday, August 12, 2013

"Life in the UK" citizenship test handbook may contain hundreds of facts not included on the test

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration has published the UK government's response to a recent APPG report, including the government's response to criticisms about the Life in the UK citizenship test raised in my comprehensive report.

The government confirms - as predicted in my report - that hundreds of facts included in the official test handbook are not, in fact, included in any Life in the UK test. This is despite the clear statement in the official test handbook that all parts of the book must be known because all may be part of a test -- this is now denied although no revised test handbook appears to be in preparation to account for this change.

Specifically, the government's response notes that the dates of birth and death of various people noted in the official handbook are not tested. Nor is other information, such as questions about the height of the London Eye (in feet and in metres) widely reported by the media -- despite the official handbook including this information. Over 275 dates are noted in this handbook along with several telephone numbers (including the main offices for regional assemblies, but omitting the Northern Ireland Assembly and no mention of either 999 or 111).

So it appears hundreds of facts are not, in fact, included in the Life in the UK test despite this being stated clearly in the official handbook's first chapter. It is not altogether surprising - as noted in my critical report (the most comprehensive, forensic examination of this test available) - as there are about 3,000 facts listed in the handbook. My report recommends that there be untested facts (such as useful websites, etc.), but that these be clearly grouped together in a chapter or appendix that is explicitly "for information purposes only" and not included in the test.

It seems a clear error to group so much information that will never be tested with so much that might be tested without any clear indication of what must (and need not) be learned given the costs and implications involved. Another illustration of problems with the test at its very core as a project that seems to have been rushed and poorly delivered.

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