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Final Exam V Coursework and Modules

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Showing 1-25 of 33 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2013, 22:07:55 GMT
Roma says:
Hi My main gripe with coursework is the verification of its authenticity. I know of parents who have been overly involved in their children's coursework or have paid tutors to be so. I know that teachers collude with this due to pressure exerted on them by their superiors intent on securing good school results and a satisfactory place on the league table.

Work should be completed under controlled conditions, but often is done without any supervision. With regard to units that are completed in class, pupils/students are allowed too remediate these as many times as they wish until they are of an suitable standard for external verification.

Another problem is that teachers can find it difficult to assess pupils objectively, adopting instead a halo and horns method of assessment. Those who put in the effort pass whilst those who don t fail. It s also difficult for some teachers to separate their nurturing role from their role assessor.
I therefore believe that all assessments must be completed under exam conditions and marked externally to ensure their validity.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2013, 16:33:24 GMT
Ian says:
Not a lot of quantum physics or cosmology is taught in schools spin - but there can sometimes be too much focus on learning facts and not enough on how we came by these facts and how we design experiments to find new facts.

It's easier with younger year groups where there is no exam syllabus to teach or external exam to play with designing investigations and testing hypotheses. But part of the problem is that in order to design really worthwhile investigations you need a body of knowledge. I teach in a secondary school and love teaching the younger years (where we can investigate anything we like) and 6th year (where my students are just about starting to be able to design genuinely interesting experiments). The years in between are largely about stuffing facts into kids' heads; the problem is if we move too far from this then universities and employers complain.

In terms of final exam v coursework; perhaps there is an argument for both? In Scotland the (soon to be defunct) Standard Grade certificate breaks students' performance into several areas (in science there are 3; Knowledge & Understanding, Problem Solving and Practical Skills). Why can a certificate not be broken down in this way - with separate grades for coursework and final exam, plus an overall grade if that's all an employer or university want. Both have their merits and many students perform better in one than the other, surely that's the point of an exam certificate?

I know as a student I excelled in exams and I suspect many of my generation who ended up in teaching did (which shows how useless those exams were if the best you could do with them was go back to school and teach the next generation the same largely useless skills), the younger generation which followed us had more coursework and less emphasis in final exams. So guess what - older teachers favour final exams and younger ones favour coursework.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2013, 13:42:03 GMT
Spin says:
IN; I disagree. That is why I question the hypotheses of Quantum physics and cosmology. There is no practical proof for some of the propositions it puts forward; like religion, it relies on faith, not objective, experential evidence. But that statement brings us to the question of the value of what is being taught in schools...

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2013, 13:30:55 GMT
Ian says:
Except perhaps theoretical physics. And pure maths. Perhaps philosophy? And politics would be better if most of them stuck to the theory and stayed away from the practical.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jan 2013, 18:53:19 GMT
Spin says:
CE; But in any discipline or interest theory is useless without the practical.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jan 2013, 16:42:29 GMT
You can learn the theory.

Posted on 26 Jan 2013, 15:46:36 GMT
J. Forbes says:
Quite so, Spin. Meanwhile, on here, we have quite a few mouths with no brains.

Not you, of course! :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jan 2013, 15:42:08 GMT
Spin says:
CE; If you only read books it could hardly be called "Astronomy". =) A photography group with no cameras, a sailing club with no boats...or, as is common today in most schools, an IT course with no computers...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jan 2013, 15:17:04 GMT
We weren't provided with much money. Imagine running an astronomy course nowadays with no telescopes? We just relied on books. No one had any money, even rich people didn't have money.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jan 2013, 13:47:23 GMT
Spin says:
CE; Indeed, extra-curricular activities are valuable but a personal preference should not be offered as a standard educational course until later in life. Many folk enjoy chess but it is not offered as a educational course. But many courses are offered based only thier popularity; more folk enjoy "drama" than chess, so drama is offered as course. (Not in all secondaries, of course, only in those with enough money, time and middle to upper-class values).

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2013, 13:00:16 GMT
When I was a school I did 'hobbies' on a Friday afternoon, including astronomy, sailing and chess. They were very enriching, not least because you could then wind down for the weekend.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2013, 07:46:44 GMT
Sewing and cooking are separate subjects now - home economics/food technology or whatever it's called now and then textiles.

In English (literature) we chose what book we wanted to study (all girl class) and we ended up with Frankenstein and A Streetcar Named Desire. The poetry wasn't war (it had no people in it) but I can't remember the name of the woman who wrote it.

I guess it comes down to the preference of the teacher and/or class what gets studied.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jan 2013, 00:08:44 GMT
Roma says:
On the contrary. I m very much in favour of individuals pursuing a career in which they have a genuine interest. I would never dream of dictating to any child what he or she should do in life. Each individual s talents should be nurtured and their aspirations respected.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013, 23:19:46 GMT
Spin says:
Roma: So you wish to dictate what career a child should pursue? On what grounds?

Posted on 24 Jan 2013, 23:18:11 GMT
Roma says:
It will be interesting to see if reverting to final exams is of more benefit to boys..Stats have shown, in recent years,that girls are performing better than boys in our education system. One reason for this maybe that girls are more likely to redraft coursework ad infinitum.

Re equality some things have improved.. There was a shortage of science teachers w hen i was at school. The boys were taught by a teacher in a science lab, carrying out experiments, while we, the girls watched them on b/w ctv unspervised in another classroom.
While many girls went on to study at uni, not one girl studied science. Thankfully this would not be acceptable today.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013, 23:00:12 GMT
Spin says:
Roma: You cannot force boys or girls to do something they do not want to simply to make the statistics more acceptable to those monitering the fantasy of "equality".

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013, 22:52:31 GMT
Roma says:
I would like that it were so. Look at novels studied in school for exams, chosen, by teachers and you will find that where classes are of mixed gender, writers tend to be male writing about a main character;;with a male protagonist; poetry tends to be about war.When I was at school dancing featured strongly in PE; it rarely features now. Domestic science used to include sewing and knitting;as boys tend to happy to cook but not sew or knit these traditionally female subjects have disappeared. In no way, i am suggesting a conspiracy. Only that in order maintain order the boys tend to have to be appeased more than the girls.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013, 22:40:25 GMT
Spin says:
Roma: I am not aware of any statistics concerning gender in education, so I cannot comment. But I presume no equality or human rights laws are being broken by a students personal choice. I am a middle-aged fogie, long past the education system, but I presume girls have the same choices as boys..

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013, 22:31:31 GMT
Roma says:
I would hope that teachers do try to deliver an interesting and enjoyable education for the children in their care. Part of the problem is that many children demand to be entertained and won t accept that some things are important but not necessarily interesting for everyone. In English, for example, pupils are generally happy to read literature but are unwilling to concentrate concentrate on the technical aspects of language. Indeed, in some secondary schools teachers are choosing the media option rather than literature, as their pupils are happier watching films than reading books.

Another development i have noticed is gender inequality has become acceptable is that the curriculum tends to favour boys as they are more likely to disrupt lessons. In, English, for example, protagonists are generally male; in P.E. football and basketball are core while netball and hockey are extra curricular. In general, I think it is becoming more difficult for young people to concentrate in class due to the over stimulation needed by young people due to their usage of computer games etc and also the fact that the teacher droning on is a distraction to the more important activity of texting and social networking sites. Teachers do have a more difficult job, itseems to me.

Posted on 24 Jan 2013, 21:42:08 GMT
Spin says:
It is the desire of society to accomodate every child, regardless of ability, that is confusing the system. There are subjects taught in schools which can only be said to be "hobbies" or "personal interests" and that have no actual "educational" value. Personal interests should be pursued after one gains a basic educational standard; schools should not be places where one can "choose" what subjects to be involved in. Such a system results in kids following trends, not education.

Posted on 24 Jan 2013, 21:07:48 GMT
Spin says:
"O" level, "A" level, Degree. Simple and understandable.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013, 20:42:49 GMT
gille liath says:
Maybe, but having two lots of 'finals' rather than one only makes that worse.

Posted on 24 Jan 2013, 20:35:39 GMT
Spin says:
People are so engrossed in the title of exams, and how they should be graded, they forget the actual education of our youth...

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013, 20:00:18 GMT
gille liath says:
Aye, but it's not just about what's good for sixth-formers - quite the reverse. The proposed changes are about restoring the standards of a qualification that has become somewhat debased. The trouble is, it's rather rough on those who'll have to take A-levels under the new rules (which are the same as the old rules I took them under 23 years ago), but on paper will only have the same qualification as those who took them under the easier rules of recent years. But over time, things will adjust.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jan 2013, 12:50:07 GMT
Roma says:
I think the Scottish system is probably better where students can sit 5 Highers in 5 th year and then Advanced Highers or A Levels in 6th year. There are two advantages this: specialisation takes place later and if students don t pass Highers they have only lost one year.Also Highers can be resat in 6 year. 3 reasons, really.
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This discussion

Discussion in:  politics discussion forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  33
Initial post:  23 Jan 2013
Latest post:  29 Jan 2013

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