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Thread: The hedumacation system in modern Britain

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel emits View Post
    More topically, I think there should be much more emphasis in education on discovering the individual aptitudes and passions of students, helping them to find out where they can make the best contribution.
    What changes would you make to do this more effectively?

  2. #47
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    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_ne...099635,00.html

    Call to ban all school exams for under-16s

    Damning verdict on culture of testing
    Stressed pupils 'in state of panic'

    Anushka Asthana, education correspondent
    Sunday June 10, 2007
    The Observer

    All national exams should be abolished for children under 16 because the stress caused by over-testing is poisoning attitudes towards education, according to an influential teaching body.

    In a remarkable attack on the government's policy of rolling national testing of children from the age of seven, the General Teaching Council is calling for a 'fundamental and urgent review of the testing regime'. In a report it says exams are failing to improve standards, leaving pupils demotivated and stressed and encouraging bored teenagers to drop out of school.
    ....

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel emits View Post
    What about those students choosing absolutely the correct subjects only to find themselves at the mercy of institutions run by jaded staff whose only interest is in ticking the boxes and maintaining their tenures? Not to mention then being surrounded by cynical students who have a similar level of disengagement with the subject and paradoxically end up more easily fulfilling the box-ticking learning objectives (and troubling the tutors less)?
    Well what about it? It's obviously very unfortunate for any students who end up in that situation, and ideally all universities would employ only excellent teachers who love their subject, love imparting their enthuisiasm for it in their students and teach it in an interesting and dynamic way. Of course this isn't always going to be the case in real life.
    On the other hand, students are meant to be responsible for taking charge of their own learning at least to an extent by the time they get to university, so if a particular course has a crap lecturer it should still in principle be possible for you to buy a good textbook and teach yourself enough material to at least pass the exam.
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  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Tea View Post
    On the other hand, students are meant to be responsible for taking charge of their own learning at least to an extent by the time they get to university, so if a particular course has a crap lecturer it should still in principle be possible for you to buy a good textbook and teach yourself enough material to at least pass the exam.
    In the sciences maybe, but not so easy with subjects that are marked on a more, subjective, basis.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by noel emits View Post
    In the sciences maybe, but not so easy with subjects that are marked on a more, subjective, basis.
    Yeah, I guess. What more can you say about this situation? Not all lecturers are inspiring; c'est la vie. You'd have to be pretty unlucky to end up in a university where they were all crap, though - or have performed so badly at school that you could only get into somewhere really rubbish, in which case you probably shouldn't be at uni at all.
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  6. #51
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    i completely disagree. if im going to pay 3k a year it's not naive to expect the university to do something for me as well. failure can't simply be blamed on a lack of industry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by don_quixote View Post
    if im going to pay 3k a year it's not naive to expect the university to do something for me as well.
    Ach - stop complaining. For only three grand a year you get to sit in on irrelevant lectures, be patronised by jaded academics and alleviate the ennui that comes from the sudden absence of direct teaching and a healthy workload by sedating yourself with alcohol in a grothole student bar.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by thraiped View Post
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_ne...099635,00.html

    Call to ban all school exams for under-16s

    Damning verdict on culture of testing
    Stressed pupils 'in state of panic'

    Anushka Asthana, education correspondent
    Sunday June 10, 2007
    The Observer

    All national exams should be abolished for children under 16 because the stress caused by over-testing is poisoning attitudes towards education, according to an influential teaching body.

    In a remarkable attack on the government's policy of rolling national testing of children from the age of seven, the General Teaching Council is calling for a 'fundamental and urgent review of the testing regime'. In a report it says exams are failing to improve standards, leaving pupils demotivated and stressed and encouraging bored teenagers to drop out of school.
    ....
    I think it's interesting that this is coming from the GTC - a body set up by the government that almost no teacher i know thinks is relevant - it seems to spend most of its time berating teachers and disciplining them for a range of offences (some as hienous as taking kids to the beach on a school trip but not mentioning it on your risk assessment).

    Even the GTC can see there is a problem but the governement response is that the tests are going to be kept because...parents like them!

    Nonsense, most parents don't understand what they are and would probably be relieved if their children didn;t have to do them.

    When the GTC starts criticising the government

  9. #54
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    I think the pre-16 SATs tests are quite useful:

    - As a dependable assessment tool for teachers, especially if students have suddenly turned up from other schools.

    - As a way of holding teachers accountable if a particular child regresses (teacher assessment could mask this) or identifying teaching that is working particularly well.

    - To ensure that the entire syllabus is treated and that teachers do not avoid topics that they find dull or difficult to cover (this especially applies to primary school, where some teachers would happily dump tricky things like fractions or unpleasant things like PE in winter if not for the National Curriculum)

    - To give children practice for 'more important' tests - working under time pressure; keeping concentration levels up; checking work thoroughly.

    - To allow children to prove themselves - especially if they find it hard to work diligently every lesson but have talent.

    - To correct some of the bias in teachers' own assessments. Children armed with airs and graces are over-rated; troublesome students are under-rated - largely because the former make their successes more obvious to the teacher.

    I find that the 'state of panic' is usually due to parents' anxieties - most kids are pretty
    clear-headed about tests, or just uninterested.

    To ban all exams pre-16 would be idiotic.

  10. #55
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    Testing for pre-16s is not necessarily the problem.

    Having the right kinds of assessment is - the SATs for KS3 English have to be the most widely discredited system for assessing pupil progress. Regularly marked poorly they prove little about how a child's literacy skills have improved (or not).

    The Key Stage tests do not follow seamlessly from one to the other - there is nowhere on an English GCSE paper to demonstrate skills gained for doing a Reading paper at KS3. There is almost no requirement for essay writing at KS3 but it is pretty much all that is done at GCSE and A Level. Coursework doesn't exist for KS3 SATs but is hugely important at GCSE (at the moment)

    Students are reduced to explaining the importnace of the third palm tree on the island rather than being allowed to actually discuss Stevenson's Treasure Island. The Tempest is reduced to two tiny passages. There is no sense that Literature is something to enjoyed but something instead from which we extract stuff.

    There are many other assessment models out there but over and again QCA baulk at actually giving teachers something genuinely useful.

  11. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenks View Post
    Testing for pre-16s is not necessarily the problem - having the right kinds of assessment is.

    Students are reduced to explaining the importnace of the third palm tree on the island rather than being allowed to actually discuss Stevenson's Treasure Island. The Tempest is reduced to two tiny passages. There is no sense that Literature is something to enjoyed but something instead from which we extract stuff.
    Yeah, from what I've seen of the literature SATs they seem to have too much of that kind of thing. The marking schemes I've seen are also very prescriptive (although I can see why this is required to try to ensure consistency).

    You can enjoy literature outside of school - at school we pick it apart to see how it works!

    I assume that there is more assessed essay writing and coursework once out of KS3, as students gain confidence in writing and reading longer pieces.

    I'm a maths teacher, so perhaps can profit more from regular testing - as the subject is intrinsically clearly structured and micro-manageable.

    Quote Originally Posted by jenks View Post
    There are many other assessment models out there but over and again QCA baulk at actually giving teachers something genuinely useful.
    Which assessment model would you use?

  12. #57

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    I'm going to pick on Vimothy because I don't agree with these posts.
    Cool

    Lots of things people (have to) do to earn money might make a positive contribution to their boss's / company shareholders' bank accounts, but not necessarily to society.
    That would be a positive contribution. I don't mean positive in a moral sense, I mean positive in an active sense.

    Would hunter-gatherers really have to work 40+ hour weeks to survive in most places?
    Even if they did I bet they wouldn't be anywhere near so alienated from what they are doing as huge numbers of workers are today.
    I'm not interested in romanticising the past, but even hunter gatherers would have to go out and hunt and gather to help feed their community

    What if, just maybe, those problems had something to do with deficiencies in the structure of 'society'?
    Deficiencies are always persent in any real, non-idealised society. What happens whern the crops fail? You figure it out or starve.

    More topically, I think there should be much more emphasis in education on discovering the individual aptitudes and passions of students, helping them to find out where they can make the best contribution.
    More choice! (Not very left wing though)!

  13. #58
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    I'm marking some GCSE physics papers for pocket money while I look for a proper job.

    It's worrying. Very worrying. And the stuff the kids are writing down - as nonsensical as some of it is - is worrying me less than some of the nonsense they're meant to be writing down according to the mark scheme.

    And this government bangs on and on about the importance of STEM subjects!
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