Fiducial or fiduciary – that is the question!

Very quickly:

A fiducial marker (noun) or fiducial for short is an object used to indicate a measurement reference point either to indicate scale or an original position or to aid more precise measurement.

A fiduciary (noun) is a person who holds a position of trust between parties for legal or financial reasons. The word fiducial (adjective) in this context indicates the actions or activities of a fiduciary.

I can see the confusion these two terms might cause. But it’s not a confusion a scientist is likely to make because we learned our words proper-like. So this leads me to think that the legal team at the DfE drew up the plans for the AS and A Level physics*. For, lo and behold, in the DfE guidance for the AS and A Level physics – students must be aware how to: fiduciary_dfe

It’s ok, one thinks, the subject specialists at the exam boards will pick it up.

AQA spec:

fiduciary_AQA

OCR spec:

fiduciary_OCR

EdExcel spec:

fiduciary_EDEXCEL

WJEC spec:

fiduciary_WJEC

So once again, the DfE blunders (due in part to their desire to over-specify every part of the curriculum) will come to shape the teaching of physics students up and down the country, and they won’t know what the correct word for a fiducial marker is.

Spotted by the excellent Carol Davenport @drdav on the Twitters who is as frustrated by DfE physics blunders as I am.

*It doesn’t really, it’s probably just an administrative mistake.

Advertisements

One Response to Fiducial or fiduciary – that is the question!

  1. Chae Cruickshank says:

    If you refer to the A level Geology subject criteria you will find a more useful application “use methods to increase accuracy of measurements, such as timing over multiple observations, or use of a fiducial (scale in photograph/field sketch)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: