Wikipedia blamed for test score drop

June 21, 2008 at 9:02 PM
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EDINBURGH, Scotland, June 21 (UPI) -- The Scottish Parent Teacher Council blames students' reliance on Wikipedia and similar online sources for a drop in examination scores.

Eleanor Coner, the information officer, told The Scotsman that students are good at working with computers but "rubbish" at doing research. She said they pick up information online and pass it off as their own work.

"It's dangerous when the Internet is littered with opinion and inaccurate information which could be taken as fact," she added.

The percentage of students passing the high school test dropped for the first time in four years this year.

Most Wikipedia articles can be edited by anyone and political entries especially are subject to self-inflation by the subjects or vandalism by opponents. At one point, the Wikipedia entry on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair included an obscene description of his relationship with U.S. President George Bush.

While Wikipedia says it has taken steps to improve its accuracy and deal with vandalism, the online encyclopedia warns that errors are especially likely in less-read entries.

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