Wasted years part two: who is at fault, school or student?

2018 December 18 Tuesday 20:48

Compared to the preceding cohorts, had high hopes for this year's p16 (the new brand name for sixth form ;) ); better attitude, enjoyable to teach, minimal non-school "problems" to resolve, nice self-motivation. Also, a bit of personal bias having started this game with them, with the new GCSE specifications. However recent (internal) exam results are prompting a re-think. Is it too early to give p16 students the freedom to devise their own revision, especially in the context of modern–day internet culture with it's multitude of distractions, designed (with advertiser profit targets) to be easy and enticing (or should that be (e-)insidious)? Documents have been shared, about study/revision habits to adopt (Pear$on BTEC had useful BTEC Nationals (i.e. level 3 analogous to GCE A), but their web site is too terrible to hyperlink; Rod Beavon's "Learning to learn" page appears sadly broken at the time of writing), to no avail. Maybe it is the time of year — everyone seems tired — or complacency due to an absence of consequences. Will have to monitor closely next month, to avoid a repeat of the wasted years... Happy holidays! :)

P.S. webmention: don't be evil, they once used to proclaim

Reply to: Desiderata

Considering project dragonfly (https://theintercept.com/2018/08/16/google-china-crisis-staff-dragonfly/), this announcement is expedient. All very laudable of big tech, but how many of the elite (think church "leaders") have been convicted of any abuse?

P.S. webmention: trouble with target grades

Reply to: Reflections in science education

Agree that targets are a ceiling on ambition; personally their existence is acknowledged but in reality with discussions to students, they are all told to aim to the same highest target (i.e. the top). That's equality... > ...P8 is pretty solid (although it favours higher achieving students... Evidence of favouring high achievement students? And so what if true? Everyone needs to be challenged, including those of high ability.

Unless misunderstood, the conversion of alphabetic grades to p8 score is a legacy, so why worry about G-to-F being devalued; similarly why should B-to-A _not_ be of greater value? High achievement and effort should be valued more than high effort and there is nothing wrong with a student trying their best to achieve grade 3. Students need honesty: some are good at all exams, some bad, many are variable. Based upon Ofqual communication (https://ofqual.blog.gov.uk/2018/07/20/setting-gcse-grade-boundaries-this-summer/), a normal distribution for grade boundaries can't be assumed, especially as grade 9 is reserved for (approximately) 97th percentile. This should prevent grade inflation which some will resent...

The grade 4 "fix" this year may have been a politically expedient move to minimise pushy middle class parents and their media supporters from whining about the "system" being unfair to this cohort being "guinea pigs" etc.. Ofqual have stated that grade boundaries will not be announced until exams are collated, so this makes the statistical norm-referenced model robust. There is nothing wrong with the concept of "fewer students to outscore", unless criterion-referenced assessment is preferred to norm-referenced assessment.

P.S. webmention: snake oil educationalist consultants

Reply to: Education inspection (UK government)

Goverment licensed information must be protected and enforced, especially if government money (school funds) is being wasted. Ofsted should make an example of such snake oil consultants by suing for breach of copyright and fined accordingly.