Scots Say Wikipedia Stunts Educational Progress

June 25, 2008 06:03 AM
by Jen O'Neill
The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) blames Wikipedia for the rising rate of failure among students taking the country’s Standard Grade exams.

30-Second Summary

The SPTC expressed concern that students are using online resources with “inaccurate or deliberately misleading information” for the majority of their research. Educators pointed specifically to Wikipedia as a “dangerous” source, for being “littered with opinion and inaccurate information.”

Though one of the top ten most visited sites on the Web, Wikipedia has been regularly criticized for being unreliable since its inception in 2001.

Despite the SPTC’s concerns, many believe the blame lies not with Internet resources, but with schools, which should be held accountable for teaching students proper research methods.

Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy Wales has remained candid about the flaws of a tool that can be so easily manipulated, which diminishes its credibility and manufactures inconsistent material.

Wales maintains that its purpose is not for in-depth research, and that it should not be deemed an authoritative source of information. Wales adds that the source has become more credible over time, and he hopes to put monitoring systems in place to improve quality.

The real problem, as acknowledged by Wikipedia itself, is that most users do not understand what Wikipedia is.

Headline Link: Scotland faults Wikipedia for students’ failures

Reactions: Who’s responsible for students’ scores?

Opinion & Analysis: Wikipedia's worth

Background: Wikipedia seeks to enhance credibility

Related Topics: Wikipedia and journalism

Reference: How to use Wikipedia


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