English Heritage Blue Plaques Scheme
A The blue plaques scheme has been running for over 140 years and is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. The idea of erecting ‘memorial table was first proposed by William Ewart in the House of Commons in 1863. If had an immediate impact on the public imagination, and in 1866 the Society of Arts (later Royal Society of Arts) founded an official plaques scheme. The Society erected its first plaque – to the poet Lord Byron – in 1867. In all, the Society of Arts erected 35 plaques; today, less than half of them survive, the earliest of which commemorates Napoleon III (1867). In 1901, the plaques scheme was taken over by London County Council (LCC), which erected nearly 250 plaques over the next 64 years and gave the scheme its popular appeal. It was under the LCC that the blue plaque design as we know it today was adopted, and the selection criteria were formalised. On the abolition of the LCC in 1965, the plaques scheme passed to the Greater London Council (GLC). The scheme changed little, but the GLC was keen to broaden the range of people commemorated. The 262 plaques erected by the GLC include those to figures such as Sylvia Pankhurst, campaigner for women’s rights; Samuel Coleridge-Thylor, composer of the Song of Hiawatha; and Mary Seacole, the Jamaican nurse and heroine of the Crimean War. Since 1986, English Heritage has managed the blue plaques scheme. So far, English Heritage has erected nearly 300 plaques, bringing the total number to over 800.
B English Heritage receives about 100 suggestions for blue plaques each year, almost all of which come from members of the public. The background of each case is very different. Each nominated person has to meet basic selection criteria before they can be considered. Most importantly, they must have been dead for 20 years or have passed the centenary of their birth, whichever is the earlier. This delay allows a person’s reputation to mature and ensures that their fame is long-lasting.
C English Heritage’s Blue Plaques Panel – representatives of various disciplines from across the country – considers all the suggestions which meet the basic criteria; on average, around 1 in 3 proposals are accepted. If a figure is rejected, proposers must wait a further 10 years before their suggestion can be considered again. Detailed research is carried out into the surviving addresses of shortlisted candidates, using sources such as autobiographies, electoral registers and post office directories.
D As only one plaque is allowed per person, the house to be commemorated has to be chosen very carefully. Factors which are considered include length of residence and the accomplishments of a candidate during the relevant years. A significant place of work can also be considered.
E Before a plaque can be erected, the owners and tenants of the building in question have to give their consent. Where listed buildings are involved, Listed Building Consent is sought from the relevant local authority. If such consents are granted, the plaque is designed, and then produced by a specialist manufacturer. It is normally ready within about two months. Plaques are set into the fabric of the building, flush with the wall face. The cost of plaque manufacture and installation are borne entirely by English Heritage. In all, it can take between 2 and 5 years from the initial suggestion to the erection of a plaque.
F The exact form of the blue plaque, as we see it now, was a relatively late development, though certain guiding principles had been in place from the outset. The earliest plaques, erected in 1867, were blue. Their format, a circle with the name of the Society of Arts worked into a pattern around the edge, was used consistently by the Society over its 35 years of management.
G Manufacture of each plaque is undertaken by the mixing and pouring of a thick clay slip into a casting mould. When sufficiently dry, the cast is removed and the outline of the inscription and border is piped onto the face of the plaque and filled with white glaze. Blue glaze is then applied to the background before firing. This process produces gently raised characters and border, a unique feature of English Heritage plaques. After firing, plaques usually have a thickness of 2 inches (50mm) and a final diameter of 19.5 inches (495mm), although smaller diameter plaques are sometimes used to meet special circumstances.
H Plaques have been found to be extremely durable and have an almost indefinite life expectancy. Similar plaques erected by the Society of Arts have lasted, perfectly legible, for over one hundred years. Due to the slightly domed design, they are self-cleansing and require virtually no maintenance.
Reading Passage 1 has eight paragraphs A-H.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
1 the toughness of the plaques
2 the length of time it takes to produce a plaque
3 the way the Blue Plaques Panel functions
4 the conditions which need to be met in each case
5 the reasons behind selecting a house to be honoured
6 how the Blue Plaques scheme first started
Do the following statements agree with the information in Reading Passage 1?
In boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet, write
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about the statement
11 The GLC did not erect as many plaques as English Heritage has.
12 Rejected proposals are given a detailed explanation of their refusal.
13 The form of the blue plaque has not changed since it was first made.
Reading Passage Two
A The software tools of research are typically more abundant than hardware tools in the social sciences. Software is usually thought of as meaning computer programs that tell the hardware what to do, but any tool not related to a physical device can be considered software. Included in this category are published tests and questionnaires.
B Often researchers want to gather information related to a general area such as personality or intelligence. For these instances, the use of a standardized test may be the best choice. With already published tests you can be sure of both validity and reliability and can save a lot of time that might otherwise be spent on test construction. Standardized tests can be classified into five main categories: achievement, aptitude, interest, personality, and intelligence.
C Achievement tests are designed specifically to measure an individual’s previously learned knowledge or ability. They are available for many topic areas related to psychology, education, business, and other fields. Achievement tests require that prior learning take place and that this learning be demonstrated in order to pass.
D Aptitude tests attempt to predict an individual’s performance in some activity at some point in the future. They do not require any specific prior learning although basic knowledge related to reading and writing is usually required and some preparation, such as studying up on math formulas or sentence structure, can be helpful. A well-known example of this type is the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT), designed to predict future college performance.
E Interest inventories also require only general knowledge but no preparation is needed. These tests look at an individual’s subjective interests in order to make predictions about some future behavior or activity. Perhaps the most used interest inventory is the Strong Interest Inventory, which compares interests related to specific careers in order to help guide an individual’s career path. Endorsed interests are compared with the interests of successful individuals in various fields and predictions are made regarding the test-taker’s fit with the various career fields.
F Typically designed to assess and diagnose personality and mental health related disorders, personality tests are used extensively by psychologists in clinical, educational, and business related settings. By far the most widely used test of this type is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Second Edition (MMPI-2), which compares an individual’s responses on a series of true-false items to those suffering from various mental disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety. The theory behind the test argues that if you endorse items similar to the items endorsed by those with depression, for example, then the chances that you are also depressed increases.
G Intelligence tests could be classified as aptitude tests since they are sometimes used to predict future performance. They could also be classified as personality tests since they can be used to diagnose disorders such as learning disabilities and mental retardation. However, because of their limited scope, we will place them in their own category. The purpose of an intelligence test is to attain a summary score or intelligence quotient (IQ) of an individual’s intellectual ability. Scores are compared to each other and can be broken down into different subcategories depending on the intelligence test used. The most commonly used tests of this type are the Wechsler Scales, including the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI).
H Self-response questionnaires are a great way to gather large amounts of information in a relatively short amount of time. A questionnaire, similar to a survey you might see on a web page, allows subjects to respond to questions, rate responses, or offer opinions. Their responses can then be used to place them in specific categories or groups or can be compared to other subjects for data analysis. A concern with self-report, however, is the accuracy of the responses. Unlike direct observation, there is no way of knowing if the subject has told the truth or whether or not the question was understood as intended. There are several different methods for gathering information on a questionnaire or survey, including a Likert scale, the Thurstone technique, and the semantic differential. The Likert scale is a popular method used in surveys because it allows the researcher to quantify opinion based items. Questions are typically grouped together and rated or responded to based on a five-point scale. This scale typically ranges in order from one extreme to the other, such as (1) very interested; (2) somewhat interested; (3) unsure; (4) not very interested; and (5) not interested at all. Items that might be rated with this scale representing the subject’s level of interest could include a list of careers or academic majors, for example.
Reading Passage 2 has eight paragraphs A-H. Choose the correct heading for paragraphs B and D-H
List of Headings
i Testing acquired knowledge
ii The way future performance is forecast through testing
iii The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
iv Software tools in research explained
v The use of a five-point scale in testing
vi A test used to obtain a summary score of an individual’s intelligence
vii The method most widely used by psychologists in various situations
viii Subjective interests employed to predict future behaviour
ix The different classes of standardized tests
x The importance of prior learning in tests
xi Information gathered by self-reporting
Example: Paragraph A Answer iv
Paragraph C Answer i
14 Paragraph B
15 Paragraph D
16 Paragraph E
17 Paragraph F
18 Paragraph G
19 Paragraph H
Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D. Write your answers in boxes 20-23 on your answer sheet.
20 Tests that are already on the market
A need some form of reconstruction
B fail to ensure validity and reliability
C guarantee validity and reliability
D waste large amounts of time
21 Some knowledge of reading and writing
A is commonly not necessary in aptitude tests
B is normally a requirement in aptitude tests
C is less important in aptitude tests than other tests
D is as important as prior learning in aptitude tests
22 With interest inventories, subjective interests are examined to
A test people’s general knowledge
B help people change their career
C compare individual’s backgrounds
D forecast future behaviour or activity
23 Intelligence tests could come under aptitude tests
A because they can be used to forecast future performance
B since they are not used very widely
C as they can be broken down into different sub-groups
D because they are sometimes used to diagnose learning disabilities
Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 2?
In boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet, write
YES if the statement reflects the claims of the writer
NO if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks of this
24 The Wechsler Scales are the only type of intelligence test now used.
25 Where large quantities of data need to be collected fairly quickly self-response questionnaires work well.
26 The Likert Scale ensures greater accuracy than other techniques.
Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D. Write your answer in box 27 on your answer sheet.
27 Which of the following is the most suitable heading for Reading Passage 2?
A Different types of intelligence test
B How personality can be tested
C The importance of aptitude tests
D The various software tools of research
Much Ado About Almost Nothing
1 “THE time for discussion of the rights and wrongs of GM crops has passed. Intense and consistent economic sabotage and intimidation are what will make the commercialisation of GM crops an unattractive option.”
2 Words like these, from an article in the current edition of Earth First!, a radical environmental journal, send shivers down the spines of those involved in commercialising biotechnology. The strength of public disapproval of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was a shock and a surprise to most of those involved. Now, some people are wondering whether nanotechnology – a term that covers the manipulation of matter at scales of a millionth of a millimetre – could be in for similar treatment and, if so, whether there are lessons that its protagonists can learn from the public backlash against biotechnology.
Profit of doom
3 In a neglected corner, amid thousands of participants at a Nanotech conference held in Boston last week, Jeffrey Matsuura, a law professor at the University of Dayton, in Ohio, stood next to his unprepossessing poster of his work. His warning, however, was pertinent to everyone there – especially the investors who were scouring the conference for opportunities. And this is that several of the factors that created a public backlash against biotechnology are already at work within nanotechnology. Dr. Matsuura says that biotechnologists assumed that the public would quickly recognise and appreciate biotech’s potential for improving the quality of life. Instead, the risks captured the attention of the media and much of the general public. Well-fed European consumers met the suggestion of cheaper food, in particular, with scepticism. Many felt that the gains would accrue to the companies which had developed GMOs, while the risks of growing and consuming the crops would be taken on by the public.
4 Dr. Matsuura believes that public perception of nanotechnology is developing along a similar track. Like those of biotechnology, the first applications of nanotechnology will bring little obvious benefit to consumers. Better, cheaper materials, and hidden manufacturing efficiencies that benefit producers first, are redolent of the ‘advantages’ of biotech – namely reduced applications of agricultural chemicals, which help to keep the cost down while raising yields. Obvious consumer benefits, such as improvements in medicine, are further away.
5 This should not matter – consumers do benefit eventually, even from cost savings. And yet, in alliance with a feeling that there are hazards involved, an absence of immediate benefits could turn public opinion against nanotech quite rapidly. And potential hazards there are. Concerns over out-of-control, self- replicating ‘nanobots’ that would eventually consume and transform the entire planet into a ‘grey goo’ are absurd. And yet, it is true that novel ‘nanoparticles’ might have real toxicological risks.
6 Nanoparticles are so small that, if inhaled, they could become lodged in the lungs. In theory, they are small enough to enter living cells and accumulate there. And in January Ken Donaldson, a professor of respiratory toxicology at the University of Edinburgh, told a Royal Institution seminar in London that, once inhaled, ultrafine carbon particles can move to the brain and blood.
7 There are already several products that use nanoparticles already on the market, such as sunscreen and car parts. Though all this may sound alarming, people are already exposed to nanoparticles of many different kinds, and have been throughout history. Soot, for example, is composed of carbon nanoparticles. Nevertheless, nanoparticles from sources such as diesel soot, welding fumes and photocopier toner are already associated with ill-health. The prospect of more such particles is likely to worry many. No wonder that several people at the conference in Boston mentioned the need to address public fears over nanotechnology “aggressively”
8 One of these was Clayton Teague, the director of America’s National Nanotechnology Co-ordination Office. He says the American government is as sensitive to any indication of true health risk as any member of the public. Several large and well-funded studies on the environmental and health risks of nanotechnology are now under way.
9 Dr. Teague adds that any decisions about nanotechnology will be made carefully and based on solid scientific data. But even if science gives the go-ahead, another one of Dr. Matsuura’s lessons is that this might not necessarily win the day, and that fear over potential abuses and accidents may dominate the debate.
10 One piece of advice Dr. Matsuura gives is that everyone involved should have a consistent message. If investors are told a technology will change the world, someone who is concerned about the risks cannot then be told that the same technology is no big deal. It strikes a false note to say that something can be both revolutionary and nothing to worry about, he says. Such inconsistencies will breed public mistrust and fear.
11 Donald Reed is a senior consultant with Ecos,a business-advisory firm based in Sydney, Australia, that acts as an intermediary between corporations and activists. Mr. Reed goes as far as to recommend that companies think about the early products they choose to pursue – in particular, whether they can demonstrate the “societal value” of these products. For example, it might be worth emphasising that one of the early products of nanotechnology could be cheap and efficient photovoltaic materials, which are used to generate electricity from sunlight.
Look at the following people and the list of statements below. Match each person with the correct statement.
28 Clayton Teague
29 Ken Donaldson
30 Donald Reed
31 Jeffrey Matsuura
List of Statements
A Nanotechnology is being affected by factors that created opposition to biotechnology.
B Europeans have the most to gain from nantotechnology development.
C Sound scientific data will be the basis of any decisions about nanotechnology.
D Governments cannot shape the development of nanotechnology.
E Nanotechology is not a cause for concern.
F Carbon nanoparticles can be breathed in and then move to the brain and blood.
G Companies should show how their early nanotechnology products can benefit society.
Complete the sentences. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.
32 Strong public disapproval of………………………….came as a shock to those working in the area.
33 Europeans reacted to the suggestion of cheaper food with…………………………
34 Anxiety about ‘nanobots’ that would in time change the planet is……………………….
35 Nanoparticles from photocopier toner are already linked to………………………..
Complete the summary using the list of words A-L below. Write your answers in boxes 36-40 on your answer sheet.
Some people believe that nanotechnology could face a (36)…………………………….fate to biotechnology. Rather than welcoming the (37)……………………………., the media and much of the general public focused their attention on the (38)……………………………… of biotechnology. So it is important to emphasize the immediate (39)………………………………. of nanotechnology; otherwise, the public could adopt a negative (40)………………………………………towards nanotech. It is therefore important for everyone involved to be consistent.
7. blue gaze
12. not given
26. not given
Academic Reading Practice Tests
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