Poor UK education standards

Which bit had you confused? There's a Brexit aviation thread with the same abbreviations in it. Did you have a little cry there too?

EASA - Euro regulating authority.

ATPL - Airline Transport Pilot Licence
 

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
Just to drag it vaguely back to UK state education, the Year 11 students have now finished their GCSE exams and the Year 13s are almost all done with A levels.

At this point in the academic year it's traditional for workload and marking pressure to decrease with a nice gentle coast into the summer holidays.

marking pile.jpg


(There may be an element of sarcasm in this post)
 

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
Just to drag it vaguely back to UK state education, the Year 11 students have now finished their GCSE exams and the Year 13s are almost all done with A levels.

At this point in the academic year it's traditional for workload and marking pressure to decrease with a nice gentle coast into the summer holidays.

View attachment 338419

(There may be an element of sarcasm in this post)
If you can afford to drink that all the time, you're not doing badly at all. So much for poor teachers.
 
If you can afford to drink that all the time, you're not doing badly at all. So much for poor teachers.
Well, yes. Would it help if I point out that it wasn't London Pride in the glass, given the picture was taken in my kitchen?

The beer may have been a mistake though as I had a couple, got halfway through a set of test papers and couldn't find the motivation to finish marking the rest.
 

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
Well, yes. Would it help if I point out that it wasn't London Pride in the glass, given the picture was taken in my kitchen?

The beer may have been a mistake though as I had a couple, got halfway through a set of test papers and couldn't find the motivation to finish marking the rest.
It just gets worse and worse because we now have drunken teachers trying to mark test papers.
 
It just gets worse and worse because we now have drunken teachers trying to mark test papers.
Indeed, it's traditional. Why do you think the handwriting is so hard to read?

Personally I'd rather be absolutely legless to forget the drivel that the kids write but today I settled for a couple of beers on a Saturday afternoon.
 

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
Why do you think the handwriting is so hard to read?
Because they all wanted to be brain surgeons but their fathers said none of their sons was going to have to work with their hands.
 
Just to drag it vaguely back to UK state education, the Year 11 students have now finished their GCSE exams and the Year 13s are almost all done with A levels.

At this point in the academic year it's traditional for workload and marking pressure to decrease with a nice gentle coast into the summer holidays.

View attachment 338419

(There may be an element of sarcasm in this post)
The best thing about GCSE's?
Some other bugger has to mark them.
 
Just to drag it vaguely back to UK state education, the Year 11 students have now finished their GCSE exams and the Year 13s are almost all done with A levels.

At this point in the academic year it's traditional for workload and marking pressure to decrease with a nice gentle coast into the summer holidays.

View attachment 338419

(There may be an element of sarcasm in this post)
Must admit with Plantymajor just completing A levels and a conditional Oxford offer at stake, I'm quite curious about the whole marking system.
It all looks so subjective to individual teachers, grade boundaries etc.
Do markers have to stick purely to the subject they teach or have their degree in? Is there a maximum amount of papers you're contracted to mark or is it done on piece rate?
 
Must admit with Plantymajor just completing A levels and a conditional Oxford offer at stake, I'm quite curious about the whole marking system.
It all looks so subjective to individual teachers, grade boundaries etc.
Do markers have to stick purely to the subject they teach or have their degree in? Is there a maximum amount of papers you're contracted to mark or is it done on piece rate?
That's just my pile of in-school tests for the other classes I teach. Then when I've done them I've got a couple of sets of exercise books to do. I'm not mental enough to ask for real exam papers to mark, even if it does mean a bit of extra money.

Having said that, I knew a couple of people in a previous school that marked GCSE exam papers. What I picked up from them was they got sent a pile of exam papers and a mark scheme. They would mark a number of papers, then have a meeting with the other exam markers in the area to discuss what should or shouldn't be allowed marks. When they had marked the rest of their papers the papers got sent back to the exam board which did some sort of internal moderation to ensure marking was consistent.

Grade boundaries are set by the exam board when they have all of the raw scores back in. The raw scores are converted to UMS, then grade boundaries are set based on the UMS distribution (I think). There's something about UMS on wikipedia if you need to fall asleep urgently - link

No idea about pay for exam marking other than it's not worth it for the amount of time it takes.

By the way, if Plantymajor misses out on grades by a couple of marks, get their exam papers re-marked! This year we sent off some A level science papers that just missed grade boundaries and they came back with an average gain of around 4 marks per paper which is frankly ridiculous.
 
Cheers for that @Ortholith PM was quite pessimistic about GCSE O's. Despite being very well versed in the mark scheme, predicted C possibly D in Maths but later worked out that missed an A by only 4 marks!
This time, realised that had misspelled a key word in Philosophy ('apophatic'- evidently it wasn't on the tutors list of key terms though so they reckon there'll be no penalisation?) also, as it's a completely new exam with no previous past papers, there's been a quite a bit of apprehension from the tutors regarding final gradeing.
I'm led to believe there's a tightening up of re marking this year too.
Personally, I hope it's just another manifestation of pessimism.
 
This time, realised that had misspelled a key word in Philosophy ('apophatic'- evidently it wasn't on the tutors list of key terms though so they reckon there'll be no penalisation?)
I can't see them losing more than a mark or two for misspelling words. I don't teach an essay subject but if they know their content / quotes, can string together a logical argument and back up their ideas with facts then they should be fine.

I have no idea how anyone marks a philosophy or english literature answer though, at least in something like maths there are definite right and wrong answers.

also, as it's a completely new exam with no previous past papers, there's been a quite a bit of apprehension from the tutors regarding final gradeing.
If it's a completely new exam the grades will probably be pegged to the previous year. For example, the current GCSEs are new papers and so will have the same proportion of A, C and G grade passes as last year.

As I understand it the exam boards will take in all the raw marks and put them in order. Then whatever percentage got an A last year, the same percentage of the current top marks will get a grade 7 or higher. The same procedure will be repeated for C and G grades, then all of the grades in between will be worked out by some weird statistics approach.

I strongly suspect the exam boards are making it up as they go along.
 
They dance naked, widdershins, at midnight round a pile of scripts, chanting the latest edu-babble buzzwords - it is a very rigorous process...
Now I know you're being silly.

Suggesting all 3 major exam boards all do the same thing and at the same time? Ludicrous ;)
 
What to Do When Your Child Hates Math

Every step in math builds on each other, and it’s very frustrating to kids to keep moving forward when they’re missing some of the building blocks. Make sure your child has the math facts mastered and basic skills solid before you move onto more complex work.

Clearly not something understood by whoever it was who devised the Kent Mathematics Project - truly dreadful.

And this gets to the heart of problems with Maths and Science in the West:

Model a positive attitude toward math yourself:

If you don’t like math yourself, I know it can be hard to fake a positive attitude. But we parents set the tone for our homes. When we’re dragging, everyone’s dragging. When we’re energized and positive, the kids are much more likely to be, too.

If you don’t like math and find it hard to muster a positive attitude, simply try to be neutral. Don’t talk negatively about math, and try to put a smile on your face when you announce that it’s math time. Even a little bit of positivity can go a long way.
 
And this gets to the heart of problems with Maths and Science in the West:

Model a positive attitude toward math yourself:
With respect, no it doesn't. There are any number of problems with maths (we have more than one over here) teaching, learning and numeracy. People teaching it without a smile are not a root cause of the utter mathematical illiteracy a lot of children have.

Just to put this in perspective, I am currently marking some A level mock exams and one student couldn't manage to find the difference between two numbers. I shit you not, an A level student with pass grades in maths and science GCSEs managed to screw up 'big number minus small number' on a calculator. Another student managed to calculate a concentration of a liquid at 2 x 10 to the power 21 tons per litre and it didn't occur to them that their answer might be a bit wonky. We are somehow expected to help them achieve a B grade at A level.

Edit - I'll put some more thought into this tomorrow.
 
Last edited:
With respect, no it doesn't. There are any number of problems with maths (we have more than one over here) teaching, learning and numeracy. People teaching it without a smile are not a root cause of the utter mathematical illiteracy a lot of children have.

Just to put this in perspective, I am currently marking some A level mock exams and one student couldn't manage to find the difference between two numbers. I shit you not, an A level student with pass grades in maths and science GCSEs managed to screw up 'big number minus small number' on a calculator. Another student managed to calculate a concentration of a liquid at 2 x 10 to the power 21 tons per litre and it didn't occur to them that their answer might be a bit wonky. We are somehow expected to help them achieve a B grade at A level.

Edit - I'll put some more thought into this tomorrow.
Thank you for starting your reply with 'With respect' - no need. Mathematics does suffer from an image problem - that it is seen as hard, boring, pointless and so on.

Numerical/Mathematical common sense is a great concept. One of my lecturers (at FE College - I was doing BTEC National Diploma in Electrical/Electronic Engineering) told tales of arguing with a Construction student who had got an answer from his calculator, and thought it had to be right..
 
I disagree, from my experience.
@Toastie and I know there are a few other skygods on here who can voice their experiences of either their training or..their 1st officers.

Edit: Yes, there were multiple choice exams but..the underlying theory was taught.
Im late to the discussion as usual!

@Lardbeast and @MachStab2 are imho coming at the same thing from different directions re pilot training.

First off, my credentials. I taught ab initio commercial pilots in both flight and ground school. These are guys who come in off the street and depart some 14 months later and around £120k poorer for an airline job, at least in theory. I also spent some 2000 hours teaching bored, rich Home Counties wives and rich Home Counties wideboys / bellends how to fly for private licences. I have been flying big metal for 21 years and have both taught and examined on same.

My view: I don’t see things too differently today as they were 25 years ago when I went through the sausage machine. We were taught loads of stuff and loads of theory behind stuff, a significant proportion of which was utter bollocks and to which I have not referred since the instant I saw the P for Pass on the results form. This is for two reasons.

Firstly, a lot of what you’re taught is not relevant to everyone because the course and exam is designed for everyone. Take Air Law; I have to learn about what lights are displayed on a balloon for no reason other than a Commercial Balloon Pilot does the same exam. S/he learns about who gives way on a Taxi way to who because I need to know and s/he does the same exam as me. That’s the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for you, now superseded by EASA, the European Aviation Safety Administration who are even worse.

Secondly, the exams required you to learn about bits of kit that were obsolete when we were still helping out on urban regegeneration projects in places like Berlin, Hamburg and Dresden. If anyone needs a quick update on Loran, Decca, Janus Array etc, I’m you’re man.

To come back onto the topic more generally, I find youngsters that come my way (in a professional capacity you sick fucks) struggle with the concept of someone being in charge and with the concept of doing it the way laid out in the Operations Manual. Old gits struggle with this too but they usually have the experience to back up their questioning of it, youngsters generally just don’t like being told no, often because it’s a novelty for them.

More specifically still, I find the general standards of English are shite, they can’t write reports, can’t spell and can’t put a point forward in any meaningfully well argued way. For that reason we are now going for highly prescriptive briefings which are tick box in style as they don’t have the capacity to put their own stamp on proceedings. Their maths is also shite and they are calculator dependent. This is fine as calculators are the norm and slide rules are great fun to show off with but a) using one never got me laid and b) why bother. The worry though is that they can’t do it the hard way if needed should the 3 Amp fuse on the clever on board kit go and they can’t spot gross errors.

This latter point was rammed home to me yet again last week and the lad concerned went on his way richer in experience for it. We have to convert fuel weight in kgs to litres using specific gravity. Jet fuel has an SG of 0.8 give or take so if you multiply the kg you need by 1.25 (or divide by 0.8, your call) you get a pretty close idea of how many litres Pedro The Petrol should have pumped into your shiny jet from his mechanically derelict fuel bowser.

Matey did the calculation but what with fat fingers and rushing it, he got an answer that was out by a factor of 10. It was immediately obvious to me but he just couldn’t see what he’d done wrong, firstly he had no idea he’d got it wrong and secondly he couldn’t comprehend the error or the reason for it. By my estimation it would have gone very quiet about 30 minutes into flight and at long last I may have had a use for all the crap I studied about gliders for my licence all those years ago.

Experience is everything in this line, he will one day be a Captain and I’ll be smelling of piss and shouting at darkies on the telly. What frightens me is the day an ex Generation X Captain who hasn’t frightened himself gets paired up with a newbie who drops a similar bollock.....

And now, back to education more generally.
 

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