Christian Education Europe eats itself… bring popcorn!

Christian Education Europe eats itself… bring popcorn! September 29, 2014

It’s all go in the exciting world of fundamentalist education this week as former Christian Education Europe (CEE) employee Christine Gregg has started blowing the whistle again. You may remember that recently a website called Ace Education sprang up, seemingly with the primary intention of discrediting Leaving Fundamentalism. This was the blog that gave the world 10 Questions for Jonny Scaramanga. The blogger behind it was Christine. Now she has had enough.

Christine says that she was pressured into writing the blog by CEE founder Arthur Roderick, but never felt comfortable writing it. Now she wants to expose the unethical practices and bullying she says she saw at CEE.

Last week, I also had an article posted on Guardian Science blogs, in which I revealed two things: 1) Four British universities have stated that they consider the International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE) as entry qualification. 2) When students study science for the ICCE, they will read that it could be possible to generate electricity from snow.

Frozen Elsa
Presumably ACE thought Frozen was a documentary about the potential uses of snow power.

Taken together, these two developments are very bad news for CEE’s flagship product, the ICCE qualification.

Although my post has had more views, it’s potentially Christine’s revelations that will do more damage to CEE. While I’ve caused a stir in the atheist community, Christine has a better chance of being heard by CEE’s customers and associates. I expect CEE will do everything they can to discredit Christine, but the fact remains that she is a Christian and someone who knows the company from the inside.

In particular, Christine makes two allegations that could be explosive: 1) The prizes were fixed at CEE’s European Student Conventions, and 2) moderation of essays on the ICCE was done poorly by unqualified people.

How does this relate to my Guardian article? Well, much of the blame for universities accepting the ICCE must lie with UK NARIC, who have declared the ICCE Advanced certificate to be on a par with Cambridge International A Levels. It is NARIC, along with CEE, who should be answering difficult questions. Whenever I’ve attacked NARIC for its decision, I’ve criticised Accelerated Christian Education, which makes up most but not all of the ICCE qualification. NARIC has therefore always been able to defend itself by insisting:

In 2011, UK NARIC was approached by ICCE Ltd to review broad subject areas and learning outcomes of ICCE qualifications, not ACE curricula, exclusively, as it has been claimed. The ICCE qualifications that were examined as part of the project are baccalaureate style awards that are partly based on the ACE curriculum, but they also include compulsory assessed elements such as coursework, essay assignments and project work which are supplemental to the ACE material.  In-depth analysis of these elements formed a key part of the overall evaluation of the ICCE qualifications.

Because I have no way of looking at these other parts of the ICCE, I could never respond to that. But a former employee of CEE can. And according to Christine, they have been highly suspect. Entries at European Student Convention which counted for ICCE credits have been subjected to questionable marking practices:

As an arts judge I was often told which pieces were 1st, 2nd or 3rd and to mark them all accordingly. If I were to disagree, I would be overruled. Often if a better work was to win, rather than a favoured student, we were given a good reason, such as it “didn’t honour God”, as to why we had to disqualify the work.

Note to attendees: Did you often believe you were inferior to these gifted winners? Nope you weren’t, you just weren’t favoured or were unknown to CEE. I have witness statements from other Christian judges and a 24/7 (a favoured group of ACE graduate helpers at ESC [European Student Convention]) to back up the claims, so don’t take my word for it.

I once was head judge for Web design. There were only four entries and one was outstanding. The last place went to a favoured student whose website was childlike with broken links, poor navigation and looked awful. Unfortunately, this entry was also up for an ICCE credit and didn’t make the grade. The favoured school complained as the student wouldn’t graduate without his pass. I stood my ground and was overruled. A credit was given to an unworthy student. I can state many more cases of cheating at ESC. A 24/7 member came to me and told me a drama event had been nobbled but there was nothing I could do. In photography I was told to disqualify a student as he hadn’t taken the entered photographs. I did so and it was me who took the flack from those concerned.

So CEE, if you want the ICCE to be worth anything at all, you need to check on ESC judging and entries earning credits. It would be honourable to God to have independent judges too rather than relatives of competitors. The rows behind the scene are second to none.

She also reports that ICCE essays have been moderated badly:

ICCE moderation was a disgrace when I worked at CEE. Often the work was moderated badly by one disabled and very incapable woman. Her marking was inconsistent and writing unclear. No one checked her work. I do believe they moderate better now, but not to Government standards.

Christine says that she can substantiate all these claims. If these practices have been widespread, then it adds to the doubt about the ICCE’s validity as a university entrance qualification.

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