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    (Original post by James.R)
    What annoys me is how every year without fail the newspapers and press come out with "new levels of dumbing down" in exam standards. The people who are backing the points up often don't have first hand experience of the exams and fail to take into account how students now do a lot more work in terms of self motivated learning (look at this forum), and wanting to do well themselves, and there are greater ways and means to do so. Does it not figure also that as knowledge of the exams and specifications increases, so do standards and results? It just devalues the achievements of those who have taken the exams.
    Yes, well said. Apparently "experts" predicted that the GCSE results would go down when in fact it stayed the same a year on. Let's face it, the media hate teenagers.
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    (Original post by timeofyourlife)
    what do you base that on? quite a few concepts covered at O-Level Maths have now been moved to AS-Level. where is the focus? source would be nice.
    A few previously lower sixth issues have been moved down in to GCSE Chemistry/Science

    i found the subjects without any/with little coursework much more daunting than the 25-30% coursework subjects. suffice to say, whether spread-out assessment or finals-assessment is harder is another debate entirely. at least with the coursework there's lots of time to get it spot on, and half of our year used google to find out most of their information
    Surely coursework can be, if correctly conducted, a much better way of determining a student's ability - many students are faced with exam nerves, stress and never achieve their full potential in an exam situation.

    never-the-less, today's exams aren't doing their job (distinguishing between candidates). no-one has 'proved' that they are easier or harder but remedial classes at uni to cover material not covered in current syllabi is a sure indicator that something is wrong with our education system.
    I don't debate that distinguishing between the top percentage of students is difficult, even that it is more pronounced today, but what i do oppose is people putting this down to easing standards. This is not the case! University entrance requirements are higher, people have to work harder to achieve grades. Society focuses on success at GCSE and students are put under pressure to do well. They are taking learning into their own hands and working. I did put in a lot of work for my exams and resent the whole hype about them getting easier.
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    (Original post by Widowmaker)
    Yes, well said. Apparently "experts" predicted that the GCSE results would go down when in fact it stayed the same a year on. Let's face it, the media hate teenagers.
    i love the way they seem to make out that our generation is 'thick'. it's not as if it's out fault if the exam system is dodgy.
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    (Original post by timeofyourlife)
    i love the way they seem to make out that our generation is 'thick'. it's not as if it's out fault if the exam system is dodgy.
    Yes, I agree. We work as hard as we can for the exams we are told to do, what more can people expect of us?!! To go looking for the harder syllabus just to prove we can do that instead?
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    EXACTLY if most da poplation under a certan age haf poor gramer or spelin then itr aint are folt it is the sistems.

    Sorry about that.

    I think partly the fact younger people spelling and grammar is poor is because they don't read as much. When I was growing up I would much rather be on my C64 programming or playing pacman than reading a book. Also if my school was typical you are not required to read a book everyweek, when my mum was at school even in year 10/11 you had to read a book every week and then write an essay on it to prove you had read it.

    I think this is a better way of teaching english than some of the crap they teach you now which won't improve peoples grammar or spelling. It is not really the teachers who are to blame though, it is league tables, governments and society in general.
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    (Original post by amazingtrade)
    I think partly the fact younger people spelling and grammar is poor is because they don't read as much. When I was growing up I would much rather be on my C64 programming or playing pacman than reading a book. Also if my school was typical you are not required to read a book everyweek, when my mum was at school even in year 10/11 you had to read a book every week and then write an essay on it to prove you had read it.

    I think this is a better way of teaching english than some of the crap they teach you now which won't improve peoples grammar or spelling. It is not really the teachers who are to blame though, it is league tables, governments and society in general.
    That's a fair point actually
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    You don't learn English like you used to, and I'm not on about my day I'm on about my 40+ year old lecturers at my college.
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    (Original post by James.R)
    A few previously lower sixth issues have been moved down in to GCSE Chemistry/Science
    i think you'll find a lot more have been moved up. e.g. 1s2s2p etc. electron shells used to be O-Level, and they're a fundamental part of physical chemistry.

    (Original post by James.R)
    Surely coursework can be, if correctly conducted, a much better way of determining a student's ability -
    not really, as coursework is rarely completed without outside intervention. exam-condition coursework such as chemistry practicals are a better idea, but the schools always seem to 'prepare' a very similar practical the week before.

    (Original post by James.R)
    I don't debate that distinguishing between the top percentage of students is difficult, even that it is more pronounced today, but what i do oppose is people putting this down to easing standards. This is not the case!
    using the argument that there is no conclusive evidence that exams have got easier, this also applies vice versa.

    (Original post by James.R)
    Society focuses on success at GCSE and students are put under pressure to do well.
    society -> government -> 'improving' education, exam board pressure -> election win.

    (Original post by James.R)
    They are taking learning into their own hands and working. I did put in a lot of work for my exams and resent the whole hype about them getting easier.
    so do i, i only did my A-Levels last year, but i do not plead ignorance to the arguments. we're certainly not all as great as the government would like us to think.

    (end of reply from the devil's advocate)
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    (Original post by timeofyourlife)
    i love the way they seem to make out that our generation is 'thick'. it's not as if it's out fault if the exam system is dodgy.
    I doubt that the raw intelligence of a population changes very much over the course of a century. We're just getting better at coping with particular styles of exam; we all do millions of past-papers before the real thing (which is close to a clone of previous papers, given the restrictions of syllabus and the modular nature of some subjects) to ensure that no questions are ever really unexpected. If questions do differ from the norm, it's no surprise that everyone (nearly) scores lower on the exam itself (like on P3, for example), even though but no-one's UMS marks really suffer because of ridiculous standardising operations which keep the apparent standards up.

    Ben
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    (Original post by Ben.S.)
    I doubt that the raw intelligence of a population changes very much over the course of a century. We're just getting better at coping with particular styles of exam; we all do millions of past-papers before the real thing (which is close to a clone of previous papers, given the restrictions of syllabus and the modular nature of some subjects) to ensure that no questions are ever really unexpected. If questions do differ from the norm, it's no surprise that everyone (nearly) scores lower on the exam itself (like on P3, for example), even though but no-one's UMS marks really suffer because of ridiculous standardising operations which keep the apparent standards up.

    Ben
    indeed. with perfect exam technique with GCSEs (and A-Levels to a certain extent), you can rake in the marks.
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    (Original post by timeofyourlife)
    using the argument that there is no conclusive evidence that exams have got easier, this also applies vice versa.
    True, but what annoys me is the instant presumption that the exams and students achievements are the things getting easier as opposed to students improving.

    society -> government -> 'improving' education, exam board pressure -> election win.
    Also true, but there is pressure on the students too.

    I'm not "against" all of the points made in this thread, they're very valid, I just object to the things I have mentioned.

    Attitudes towards exams are changing, and as i say i just feel that the press are very quick to point the finger and say that the gcses of today "are not worth the paper they're printed on" to quote a recent headline.

    (end of reply 'cos i haven't thought this much since doing the exams )
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    (Original post by piginapoke)
    "A book is like a mirror: if an ass peers into it, you can't expect an apostle to look out." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

    Reading books isn't the be all and end all; its not very effective to read a load of books if one doesn't understand them.
    But you will probably learn harder words and learning how to spell words and stuff. In my english lessons my teachers idea of reading a book was to watch the video of kess because the students could not be arsed reading the book.
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    What, exactly, is a harder word?

    Ben
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    (Original post by amazingtrade)
    But you will probably learn harder words and learning how to spell words and stuff. In my english lessons my teachers idea of reading a book was to watch the video of kess because the students could not be arsed reading the book.
    many a scally have turned into earl-grey tea drinking pedants after reading a copy of 'Romeo and Juliet' at the bus stop
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    Can I throw in a suggestion that perhaps its not the actual exams that are getting easier, but the grade boundaries are being lowered? I know this is true in art, after talking to my art teachers last year. Apparently there were lots of people getting at least a grade above what the teachers were expecting. (This was the results for the now year 13s the year below me) As further evidence I can put forward the numbers applying for A level art: my year started off with 8 (ish) at the start of AS (finished off with 5! although thats not as bad as my textiles course, which started with 4 got up to 6/7 and finished with 0! - it almost finished with 1 until my B***H teacher decided to bully me out of the class and accuse me of faking my ankle injury gggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) yet the lower year started off with around 25 as a result of their good grades. They came in thinking art would be easy but they soon found out how time consuming it is! Hence over 10 people dropped out.

    Personally I blame Tony Blair



    ...and my B**CH textiles teacher


    ...ggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
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    (Original post by amazingtrade)
    But you will probably learn harder words and learning how to spell words and stuff. In my english lessons my teachers idea of reading a book was to watch the video of kess because the students could not be arsed reading the book.
    Sounds like my school... In the time it took one person to get to page 64 in To Kill A Mockingbird, I'd read it around 4 times. Then again, I'm a very fast reader...
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    (Original post by Ben.S.)
    What, exactly, is a harder word?

    Ben
    Something unlike the word 'it' or 'the'. I learnt 'circumnavigation' when I was a wee bairn in primary school, I was the only one able to spell it correctly in my class. So for that age, 'circumnavigation' in my mind would be classed as a 'harder word'.
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    (Original post by habosh)
    Come on s/he was just kidding
    Thanks

    And yeah I was, most of my posts have a typo!
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    (Original post by James.R)
    True, but what annoys me is the instant presumption that the exams and students achievements are the things getting easier as opposed to students improving.
    why is it an unfair presumption?

    (Original post by James.R)
    Also true, but there is pressure on the students too.
    i'd say there is more pressure on students these days than a couple of decades ago. however, pressure and improvement in standards are not directly correlated.

    (Original post by James.R)
    I'm not "against" all of the points made in this thread, they're very valid, I just object to the things I have mentioned.
    well it's not very nice to hear bad things about qualifications that were recently took, i admit.

    (Original post by James.R)
    Attitudes towards exams are changing, and as i say i just feel that the press are very quick to point the finger and say that the gcses of today "are not worth the paper they're printed on" to quote a recent headline.
    quite.

    GCSEs as a stand-alone qualification probably aren't (aside from minimum requirements for certain jobs). they're a 'gateway' qualification to better things.
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    Certainly grade boundaries are being lowered in subjects like maths at GCSE - A* is always around 80%, but the A boundary is currently around 60%! Other subjects, like food technology, maintain ridiculously high A* boundaries (~93%). English, on the other hand, can be marked pretty weirdly; so that you can't get a certain grade if you haven't set out a piece in the style THEY deem more suitable, regardless of content.

    Ben
 
 
 
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