Chris Ledgard presents Word of Mouth on dumbing down. We hear from the examiners who write test questions, while Joe Queenan says that people who don't like words should shut up.
Every August exam results are published, and every August newspaper headlines are filled with comments about dumbing down. But how much thought lies behind modern examination questions, and who decides the language that is used ? In Word of Mouth we hear from Edexcel's chair of history examiners Angela Leonard, and her managing director Ziggy Liaquat. The key word is accessibility, and enabling students to understand the questions they have been set. It all seems a brave new world for our presenter Chris Ledgard, who recalls stumbling through an A Level question about Bismarck's expediency, not knowing what expediency meant. Also the American critic Joe Queenan attacks the editors who insist on the use of simpler words in his books. "People who don't enjoy words should just shut up," he says. The producer is Miles Warde.