Anual rise in gratuitous media photos of schoolgirls...

#1
...oops I mean in GCSE passes. The Torygraph is the worst offender for printing photos of 16 year old girlies (18 for A levels) hugging each other and their staff must be composed of leering old perverts with very dodgy Japanese-style fetishes :twisted:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4182006.stm

So, are GCSEs now being given away with cereal packets? Or do we have an uber-generation of geniuses? 8O

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4182006.stm

GCSE results rise at all grades

GCSE results for England, Northern Ireland and Wales have improved at all grades for the first time since 1996.
The overall pass rate rose from 97.6% of the exam entries to 97.8%.

And 61.2% were awarded the higher grades, A* to C, up two whole percentage points on last year - the biggest rise since 1992.

But the Joint Council for General Qualifications said there were notably fewer entries for French, German and Spanish, while PE entries were up 7.5%.

The council, the umbrella body for the main seven exam boards, said the decline in modern languages - which had been predicted - was "much to be regretted".

FULL COURSE GCSE RESULTS
Entries: 5.74 million (down 2.4%)
Pass rate: 97.8% (up 0.2)
A*-C grades: 61.2% (up 2)
A*/A grades: 18.4% (up 1)
A* grades: 5.9% (up 0.3)

Its director, Ellie Johnson Searle, said it "places additional pressure on the government's existing schemes to boost languages in primary schools, as the potential pool of qualified candidates for the study of languages in higher education and teacher training is necessarily reduced".

Languages are no longer compulsory over the age of 14, except in Northern Ireland.

John Dunford of the Secondary Heads Association said language learning was in "free fall". He called for an urgent government review.

Experts suggested the pattern of higher grades and lower entries was accounted for by weaker students switching out of languages and also the double science GCSE.

The starting point for employers recruiting staff is surely to have access to candidates with basic literacy and numeracy skills

Vocational GNVQs as a whole attracted 4.2% more entries even though they are being phased out. Pass rates were up from 76.2% in 2004 to 79%.

They are being replaced with various qualifications, including new Applied GCSEs which attracted almost 40,000 more entries this year, a third more than last year.

The pass rate was 93.1% and 39% got grade Cs or above.

Even before the results came out, the Institute of Directors said its members were "crying out for improvement" in basic skills.

Its head of business policy, Richard Wilson, said: "The starting point for employers recruiting staff is surely to have access to candidates with basic literacy and numeracy skills.

"If individuals lack these skills, workplace training and development or progression into further and higher education becomes much more difficult."

And the man who headed the government's inquiry into 14 to 19 learning in England, Sir Mike Tomlinson, said GCSEs were "failing a generation" on the basics.

Schools Minister Jacqui Smith said: "We are reforming the GCSEs and in the future we will be judging schools on the extent to which pupils are getting not just five good GCSEs but five good GCSEs including English and maths.

"So yes there's more that we need to do. We're already working on it with employers."

The reforms involve revamping English and maths to ensure higher grades do involve functional skills.

The government's white paper said it would be 2008 before the revised English GCSE was available for teaching, with maths a year later.

Chris Keates of the NASUWT teachers' union said business leaders were "practised serial detractors".

"Their annual condemnation is as tiresome as it is inaccurate."
 
#2
The Torygraph is the worst offender
Another good reason to buy it, and Liz Hurley isn't always available to provide the "thinking man's Page 3"!
 
#3
Sorry, this was the best I could do!

 
#4
The children aren't getting any thicker or brainier, well not in any great jumps from year to year at any rate.

Obviously if you compare a child from today, with a 1970s child there will be differences, although not neccesarily intelligence.

The problem is with our target obsessed government for them to be seen to educate the kids they must ALL get As.

So the standards and/or results are slightly "massaged" each year. Lets face it they "massage" all other results, just have a look at the "Waiting for Telic medal thread".

Why do we need an A*? Wasn't there talk of an A**?

It's a simple concept. The vast majority of kids should be getting C's and D's. (pefrably the higher one) The real brainiacs should get As and the slightly less poindextors should get Bs. It is not degrading achieve a C is it? I didn't think so, I got Bs and Cs and an E in French!!!(If I have to talk to a Frenchy I just use CLAP!!!)

There are a few cases arising where kids that should be able to launch straight in to a higher course (A level or Degree) haven't quite got the skill base although they do have the grade.

But with people going round saying it should be called "deferred success" not failure (although I do sort of see where she is coming from) what will happen?

My Mum came out with a classic, I wouldn't think she is of the progressive libral sort, but she said that it was "demeaning to a child to fail an exam" this was a few months prior to the "deferred success" thing. After she had attended a few courses. I would say yes it is, but it is also character building.

If this sort of thinking is driving the Education system, what will happen?
 
#5
chocolate_frog said:
The children aren't getting any thicker or brainier, well not in any great jumps from year to year at any rate.
No but the sixth form lovelies are getting more lip-smackingly gorgeous year on year. If it wasn't for these "gratuitous" shots being liberally interspersed with pictures of Ruth "Dave" Kelly I would not be able to leave myself alone of a morning!!

Education secretaries appear to be getting uglier, in direct proportional relation to the improvement in results..discuss?
 
#6
I was amused when listening to the radio recently when the subject changed to exam results and the lowering of standards.

As usual they had a whole host of gas bags on justifying all the A*s etc that kids were getting, and then some fairly sensible folk who put across the point that if the aim of the exam was for everyone to pass, why didn't they just give them out at birth! :D

Anyway, the comment that made me laugh/cry the most was along these lines

"If all these fancy athletes can constantly break records, then why can't kids continue to get better and better results."
This shows an inherent mis-understanding of the issue at hand.

Athletes can break records because they are competing against each other, that is to say a group of highly trained and elite individuals. Therefore, they are effectively increasing the gap in performance between themselves and society as a whole.

In contrast, exam results on average (that is to say the median of the population, not an elite or specialist group) have continued to increase, meaning that on average every single person is slightly higher up the results scale.; Therefore the group as a whole has moved up the scale, meaning that those with exam results (using the same scale as previous years) judged to be better than previous years, are actually on the same intellectual level.

The best way to judge it would be to take an annual average score for each subject, then the next year compare it to last years average score and then give them a result that reflects their perfromance compared to the national average. A would be the top 20%, B 20-40% , C 40-60%, D 60-80 and E would be the complete clots! :D

Simple really but not likely to be used as they would label it discriminatory and devisive (ie it sorts the wheat from the chaff!)

Agent smith
 
#7
I say bring back the house systems (didn't bliar send his kids to a school with a house system while disassembling the system in non-private schools?)

And bring back the old sets.

My school had an official set system. Specifically Maths groups 1 - 6. The classes weren't officially grouped but, let's put it this way, the kids in class D and A were only barely capable of walking and breathing at the same time and L and C were a right bunch of spotters.

And it seemed to have worked well.

Now adays this would be seen as competitive and devisive.

If it helps the kids that can do better do more, and helps the kids who need help just turning Oxygen in to Carbon Dioxide by moving at their pace.
 
#9
Rhino_Stopper said:
There is a bit in that article that has me puzzled?

A few people were disappointed of course - especially with some of the French speaking marks being lower than expected - but hopefully these problems will be sorted out quickly by the exam board.

It is worrying when people who have been predicted A grades are barely reaching the level of a C, particularly when a similar situation occurred last year.
So the actual grade you get is open to an appeal process or something?

Oh and the fact that Mz Yan can manage to self teach herself enough LAW in one month to pass seems to say something about the level of knowledge required. Either that or she is a 'kin genius..

As you may have guessed I have the square root of Fückall A levels.
 
#11
Steven said:
Rhino_Stopper said:
There is a bit in that article that has me puzzled?

A few people were disappointed of course - especially with some of the French speaking marks being lower than expected - but hopefully these problems will be sorted out quickly by the exam board.

It is worrying when people who have been predicted A grades are barely reaching the level of a C, particularly when a similar situation occurred last year.
So the actual grade you get is open to an appeal process or something?

Oh and the fact that Mz Yan can manage to self teach herself enough LAW in one month to pass seems to say something about the level of knowledge required. Either that or she is a 'kin genius..

As you may have guessed I have the square root of Fückall A levels.
In relation to your question about appeals, students sit a number of tests throughout their academic year. They achieve what is termed an expected result. Should their exam result turn out to be way below the expected, they have the right to appeal and ask to have their expected result taken into consideration.

I think the system was developed to accomodate the clever (and not so clever) ones who brick it in the exam.

I can understand the reasons behin it but it's not exactly reasuring now is it? Imagine the following analogy

A world class athlete does well all year in preperation for the olympic games and makes his way to the finals of his event. He then proceeds to have an absolute arrse of a race/game. Would it be in the spirit of things to grant him an appeal, where his years performance was taken into consideration? Me thinks not!

Well i suppose, we are now the country of appeals thanks to the blairs. :roll:
 
#12
MrPVRd said:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4162816.stm

In Durham triplets Katie, Alison and Helen Prescott acquired 10 A grades between them and now aim to go to university to study medicine.
The 18-year-olds said they had benefited from having three brains working on homework problems.
Three brains each?
Obviously not related to John Prescott!
But perhaps, crossing the floor of the Commons, to David 'Two Brains' Willetts?

As for whoever said that Education Secretaries are becoming proportionally less attractive...

1997-2001: David Blunkett
2001-2002: Estelle Morris
2002-2004: Charles Clarke
2004-present: Ruth Kelly

Quite frankly, they're all hideous.

[edit]As for appeals etc, it's not just for people who brick it in the exam. The exam boards have a habit of seriously arrsing results up (like the scandal in 2001 (?) over it - still goes on, just doesn't make the papers). When papers get sent for a re-mark, they can go up 30 or 40 marks out of 100.

smithie
 
#14
Are the exam results not done to a normal distribution? As in only a % percentage of A's, B's etc?

From what I know of education here in paddyland, if a region has too many A's, then the exams have to be remarked until the correct numbers are in.
 
#15
Bombard,

Think the answer is partly here - http://www.qca.org.uk/12812_12922.html Scroll down and you'll find a para on setting the grade boundaries. The page seems to have been written by someone who wins the award for 'adopting the most patronising tone on a webpage'.

As I recall (from some years ago), the 'X per cent get grade A, Y per cent grade B...' approach came in for much criticism for being unfair. It could mean that standards varied from year to year, potentially disadvantaging students who scored higher marks than their predecessors yet who recieved a lower grade. This became relevant as more gap-years were taken - someone applying for University after a gap year might have scored, say, 65% and been awarded an A. Next year, 68% might have been needed to gain an A because a higher number of students scored that mark, thus pushing the grade boundary up. Someone getting 66% in the second year could, therefore, lose out in a university application, while the student who scored fewer marks the year before didn't, since their fewer marks got a higher grade. There was also much fuss about the idea that someone at the lower end of the grade scale could be downgraded simply because the numbers were out. I'm not quite sure what the outcome was, though.

Since the percentage of students gaining grade A at GCSE has gone up year on year, though, it would appear that the approach you outlined has been dropped.
 
#16
Archimedes said:
Bombard,

Think the answer is partly here - http//www.qca.org.uk/12812_12922.html Scroll down and you'll find a para on setting the grade boundaries. The page seems to have been written by someone who wins the award for 'adopting the most patronising tone on a webpage'.

As I recall (from some years ago), the 'X per cent get grade A, Y per cent grade B...' approach came in for much criticism for being unfair. It could mean that standards varied from year to year, potentially disadvantaging students who scored higher marks than their predecessors yet who recieved a lower grade. This became relevant as more gap-years were taken - someone applying for University after a gap year might have scored, say, 65% and been awarded an A. Next year, 68% might have been needed to gain an A because a higher number of students scored that mark, thus pushing the grade boundary up. Someone getting 66% in the second year could, therefore, lose out in a university application, while the student who scored fewer marks the year before didn't, since their fewer marks got a higher grade. There was also much fuss about the idea that someone at the lower end of the grade scale could be downgraded simply because the numbers were out. I'm not quite sure what the outcome was, though.

Since the percentage of students gaining grade A at GCSE has gone up year on year, though, it would appear that the approach you outlined has been dropped.
Archimedes, looks like you're right.
I remember doing ten-odd years of past papers as part of the preparation for the physics A level and noticing that the papers got significantly more difficult the further back I went. As for GCSEs: I've no idea as they had only being going for a year[1] before I sat mine.
I don't seem to recall them being marked on a normal distribution, unlike the Degrees were.
I do remember that the university had to set up remedial maths lectures as the calibre of entrants with Maths A level was decreasing even though the entry level to the course was unchanged.
[1] or two
 
#17
Employer 'What can you do?'.
Graduate 'I've got a degree in Sociology'.
Employer 'No, I asked what can you do?'
Graduate 'I'm very friendly'.
Employer 'That's as maybe, but what can you do'?
Graduate 'I'm really good at essays'.
Employer 'Is there anything else that you think will help with your application for this position'?
Graduate 'I've always got a sharp pencil'?
Employer 'Thank you Mr *****. Do-Nuts R Us will be in touch in due course.
 

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