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Pupils complaining about "Unfair" exam paper watch

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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8480563.stm

    I think this campaign set up by the students is ridiculous. I know I've come out atleast of one of my GCSE/a-level exams thinking 'we didn't do that in class' but then realising that- it was touched on, but it was my responsibility to also learn it.

    The whole point of a-levels is to promote an independance and different approach to your learning, to take responsibility for it. If a teacher doesn't cover a topic- big deal! You go and make sure what you need to learn for yourself, those who were spoon fed students at school now struggle in the first semester at university, complain about 'but the lecturer only spent 5 minutes on that topic, what are we going to do?' - how about go and do your own work?!
    Another huge part of a-levels, is also collaberating your knowledge as a whole, and coming up with more detailed and analytical answers- thinking outside the box, putting 2 and 2 together- yes so the questions may not have been about directly what they were taught, but i'm ready to bet a huge part of it was linked in, and they had to use their brains to answer it!

    If the exam board looked at it, agreed that the questions covered the specification- and i'm sure the exam standards board (can't remember the name!) will look into it and also come up with the conclusion


    What does everyone else think about this? to sum up, i think on the students part its very petty and immature


    EDIT: The exam paper in question: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...9&postcount=70

    The specification: http://store.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/pdf...10-W-SP-10.PDF
    The module is B104
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    It's very handy that so many important stories are significantly related to Facebook, so that journalists do not have to leave their offices.
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    The problem is that the majority of A level students do not do their own reading, and learn outside of the course - by including 80% unknown material in an exam paper, you're effectively failing half the country, and therefore making standardising marks very difficult - it's irresponsible of the exam board.
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    You haven't sat the exam, therefore you have no say in the matter. What gives you the right to say they're wrong?
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    (Original post by punkyrocker)
    The problem is that the majority of A level students do not do their own reading, and learn outside of the course - by including 80% unknown material in an exam paper, you're effectively failing half the country, and therefore making standardising marks very difficult - it's irresponsible of the exam board.

    It wasn't unknown, it was in the specification..they probably were taught it, and learnt it but didn't have the capacity to take what they've learnt and apply it in a different setting - this is what learning, and being an adult learner is about
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    Having spoken to many biology students, they really thought this paper was just outrageously irrelevant and the board have said they'll be taking into account (translation: low grade boundaries).
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    (Original post by Playboy King)
    Having spoken to many biology students, they really thought this paper was just outrageously irrelevant and the board have said they'll be taking into account (translation: low grade boundaries).

    well they'll have to won't they, with all students getting low grades, the boundaries will go down anyway with or without input from the exam board.

    The media complains about a-level exams being too easy- and now when maybe one exam was a bit harder, and made you think a bit more outside the box, the students complain?
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    I thought that the issue was not that the teachers had not covered the topics, but that the exam just missed out almost all of the topics covered (so people learnt way too much). It seems that people who did no revision could do the same as those who did lots. And also some of the topics in the exam were specifically not supposed to be used in the exam (e.g. Spearman's rank).

    That's what I've got from reading about it anyway.
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    (Original post by Subcutaneous)
    It wasn't unknown, it was in the specification..they probably were taught it, and learnt it but didn't have the capacity to take what they've learnt and apply it in a different setting - this is what learning, and being an adult learner is about
    I didn't read the whole story, so sorry. If it was more about applying the knowledge to unknown situations, that's different. However I still don't think that so much of the paper should have been unfamiliar. The new specification should treat the students studying it exactly the same as the old specification treated theirs, it's not fair to suddenly expect students to up their independent learning.
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    "This is the first year this exam specification has been taken and the AQA board says this can cause uncertainty about what should be studied."

    The same stuff probably happened when the A Level change in 2000 took place. Just that in the past decade the use of technology has widened access to past papers (and less be honest, it's much easier when you have 16 past papers to go through compared to an unreliable specimen). This change will bump grades down for a year or two but it will return once people know what examiners want.
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    (Original post by punkyrocker)
    I didn't read the whole story, so sorry. If it was more about applying the knowledge to unknown situations, that's different. However I still don't think that so much of the paper should have been unfamiliar. The new specification should treat the students studying it exactly the same as the old specification treated theirs, it's not fair to suddenly expect students to up their independent learning.

    I don't think it's encouraged them to 'up' their independant learning, but allow students to apply what they know, instead of reel off spoon-fed facts.

    The whole point of the revised specifications for a-levels, is making them harder, encouraging preparation for university level thinking and learning
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    Thats what some people struggle with in biology, working out what area of the syllabus the questions are asking about, thinking outside the box. It can't have been completely irrelevant - the exam board approved it to be relevant. They should accept this. I'd like to see the paper though.
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    I took the exam and it really was as ridiculous as everyone is making out. For instance there was a question about a statistical test which the AQA textbook specifically stated we didn't have to know about.
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    TBH - given that A-levels do not place any value whatsoever on further reading or knowledge outside the curriculum*, I think it's a little much to expect A-level students to basically do a paper that is completely different from what they were lead to study. Hell, if that happened here at university, I would make a formal complaint not only at departmental level but within the higher administrative echelons here - we're expected to read around our chosen topics in our free time, but if the recommended reading material was completely irrelevant to what was on the paper, I can imagine I'd be pretty pissed off. There's only so much you can expect people to read around a single subject or module - a few hours a week tops - expecting them to read an entire A-Level course in Biology is absurd.

    *I can say this with a fair degree of confidence - in my personal experience, A-level students, whilst no less versed in the hard knowledge of any subject than students of any other college-level program, are not encouraged to develop skills like independent reading or referencing until they get to degree level. Not wise, IMHO.
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    (Original post by Kimnjinx)
    I took the exam and it really was as ridiculous as everyone is making out. For instance there was a question about a statistical test which the AQA textbook specifically stated we didn't have to know about.

    how old was the textbook?

    you may not needed to have known about it, but how about apply knowledge of stats tests in general to the question?
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    Subcut you've completely missed what the problem is. Part of it is the fact that one question was based on something that in the AQA book specifically said they would not be asked a question on yet they were and there was only one question actually on Biology. While I think it's blown out of proportion I also agree that the paper was a bit stupid :/
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    (Original post by Botticello)
    Thats what some people struggle with in biology, working out what area of the syllabus the questions are asking about, thinking outside the box. It can't have been completely irrelevant - the exam board approved it to be relevant. They should accept this. I'd like to see the paper though.

    Ditto, as someone who did biology a-level i was lucky to have a teacher who purposefully didn't go through some areas of the module so we had to do it ourselves, and used classes as independant study time, she was a huge believer in adult learning and it's helped me a lot now whilst doing my degree, in that if my lecturer finishes halfway through their presentation, i'm not fussed- it's not their fault if i never learn it, it's mine
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    (Original post by Aphotic Cosmos)

    *I can say this with a fair degree of confidence - in my personal experience, A-level students, whilst no less versed in the hard knowledge of any subject than students of any other college-level program, are not encouraged to develop skills like independent reading or referencing until they get to degree level. Not wise, IMHO.

    I learnt a fair amount of my basic referencing skills at a-level
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    (Original post by letsdothetimewarpagain)
    Subcut you've completely missed what the problem is. Part of it is the fact that one question was based on something that in the AQA book specifically said they would not be asked a question on yet they were and there was only one question actually on Biology. While I think it's blown out of proportion I also agree that the paper was a bit stupid :/

    was it in the specification though? it's silly to complain its not in the textbook..when they should look to the specification and guidelines first, it's also more than viable the question may have seemed to be giving a problem the students 'viewed' as not needing to know, but i'm ready to bet it was asking them to use skills, and knowledge around the area to come up with an answer.
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    The point is, though, that the exam seems to have been on seemingly random topics, whilst much of the specification was ignored. So you can hardly go away and teach yourself something can you or do wider reading or whatever, if the exam board likes to just shove in random stuff for the hell of it that it's impossible to predict? And even if the exam did contain something they probably should have read about independently or whatever, then you open up a whole kettle of fish where you're effectively deciding students' grades randomly; one reads up on one topic, another on another topic, and hey ho, one of those non-specification topics comes up, the other doesn't. Is that really fairer? Whereas you can't go wrong if you just stick to specification and textbook, and expect everyone to learn that and test them on that.
 
 
 
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