There should be A*s at A Level

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Ginnie Redston
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#121
"Ian/Cath Ford" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> On Tue, 18 Jun 2002 10:11:20 +0100, "Becky Loader" <[email protected] com> wrote:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> >good had been given a C grade, but then comforted (in some way at least,[/q2]
if
[q2]> >a little confused) as we criticised another essay, on Hamlet, only to[/q2]
find
[q2]> >that it had been given full marks.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Yeah - I have a geo one like that. It talks about the Colorado basin and includes a map which has[/q1]
[q1]> "Excellent Map <tick, tick>" written next to it. Shows the Colorado going out into the "Gulf of[/q1]
[q1]> Mexico" - which, of course, it doesn't....[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I find it tends to give confidence to people that the work that gets shown off as full (or near)[/q1]
[q1]> marks isn't perfect and that, actually, most of them could improve on it.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Glad to find two examples of people who have done this. Any more out there or is this all a[/q1]
[q1]> completly new thing for everyone else??[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Ian[/q1]
[q1]> --[/q1]
I've done this with my various classes, though not always consistently. I think I tend to do it when
I feel there are enough people in the group who are confident enough to evaluate the material
without getting worried if they disagree with the examiners' comments.

Ginnie
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Ian/Cath Ford
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On Tue, 18 Jun 2002 20:24:05 +0100, "Will Grout" <[email protected]> wrote:

[q1]>we did this kind of thing in geog. we tended read through a critically evaluate a different[/q1]
[q1]>students work each week. on top of that ppl were ofter requested to read out bits of their essay[/q1]
[q1]>(time constraints).[/q1]

God, my people would die if I did that to them - even anonymously :-) Mind you, there are often a
bunch of wuses...

I prefer to use board produced stuff - it just seems fairer and it's also stuff we know if supposed
to be good or bad. Mind you, I do look at people's work with Year 9 quite a lot, so I guess that I
do do the same thing, only when they're still too little to care so much :-)

Ian
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Ian, Cath & Eoin Ford The view from Beccles

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Ian/Cath Ford
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#123
On Tue, 18 Jun 2002 22:03:25 +0100, "Andrew Hollingbury"
<[email protected]> wrote:

[q1]>It's scary how we would have given so many papers bad marks that got Bs and As from the examiners![/q1]

Can I ask whether you found that useful or not? Good to hear of people doing it mind.

Ian
--
Ian, Cath & Eoin Ford The view from Beccles

Support clubs against Carlton & Granada: Boycott ITV world cup coverage.

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Jhp
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#124
[q1]> The problem is that Oxbridge would make offers based on A*s then - which I really would hate![/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I've got an AAB offer from Oxford, and having worked pretty hard I can probably manage it.[/q1]
[q1]> However, there would be NO hope of me getting the two A*'s in Latin and Greek they'd ask me for if[/q1]
[q1]> that was the case![/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Andrew H[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
But that's special pleading. If one believes that the best performers shoud get into the 'best'
collges a more discriminating exam is fairer. John
0
Davido
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#125
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#125
[q1]> As a teacher I'm very much against introducing an A* grade at A level. All it would effectively do[/q1]
[q1]> is downgrade all achievements by 1 level.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> At GCSE the A* grade has served to devalue the grade A (making it only the 2nd best grade) rather[/q1]
[q1]> than being a "bonus" award for the very best A grade students.[/q1]

That is not what I want with an A* at A Level. They messed up A*s at GCSE by downgrading / devaluing
Grade A. What I propose is to keep Grade A at A Level exactly the same, UMS of 80, and A* 90.

But I do think A*s at GCSE were an excellent idea, because for the very best students, it was
a total doddle to get a grade A, and for many subjects required no work. For an A* however,
in subjects such as the languages and music in particular, it was a challenge that required
input to get.

At A Level the problem of no A* is evident - for the top students it's just too easy to get UMS 80.
This is why I completely slacked off after working like hell at GCSE, thinking 80 was attainable
with minimum effort [OK i got my just deserts with 78 in 2 subjects but that's not the point!!!] If
an A* was available with UMS 90, then I would have actually bothered to do work, knowing there's a
bonus to achieve.

But as has been pointed out, by Richard wasn't it, that whilst for a subject like Maths getting 90+
means you're very good, for e.g. Literature 90+ means a better knowledge of the exam system [eg
meeting "Assessment Objectives"] than actually being very good.
0
Dr A. N. Walker
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In article <[email protected] uk>, Andrew Hollingbury
<[email protected]> wrote:
[q1]>I've got an AAB offer from Oxford, and having worked pretty hard I can probably manage it. However,[/q1]
[q1]>there would be NO hope of me getting the two A*'s in Latin and Greek they'd ask me for if that was[/q1]
[q1]>the case![/q1]

If they simply change their AAB offers to A*A*B, then they will lose students who they want
to take. They have quotas to fill, and you are, apparently, inside that quota. So if they
*do* move to A*'s, they will have to compensate; eg A*A*D, or A*AC. Or else make many more
offers to people they don't really want. In any case, unless you're particularly incompetent
[by their standards] at Latin and Greek, there's no reason to suppose you'd lose out by this
change, and if you did, then it would probably be a good thing [assuming that you don't
*want* to spend three years coming bottom in Latin].

--
Andy Walker, School of MathSci., Univ. of Nott'm, UK. [email protected]
0
Dr A. N. Walker
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#127
In article <[email protected]>, steve.wren
<[email protected]> wrote:
[q1]>Our differing definitions of mathematicians have caused us to disagree here. I defined[/q1]
[q1]>mathematicians in the 16-18 sense (ie. "A level Mathematicians" - those who do A level maths) - you[/q1]
[q1]>defined mathematicians as those who continue post 18 I think.[/q1]

Actually, neither of us defined "mathematician"! But from the point of view of univ
admissions, clearly I'm only directly interested in those who wish to do maths courses post
18, and for these, at least at top ["Russell"] univs, an A in maths is simply not very
interesting. Little more so, in fact, than a Key Skills numeracy qualification.

[q1]>The exam board speak is that Further maths isn't "harder maths" (as it used to be) but is just[/q1]
[q1]>"extra maths". I personally don't agree as the content of P6 is certainly harder than P2 (for[/q1]
[q1]>example) but the exam boards state otherwise.[/q1]

Yes, but it's one of these "soak time" thinggies. Simply doing more and more maths makes the
earlier stuff easier, even if there is no actual connexion.

[q1]>We obviously don't know if AEA will take off. Since it's a replacement for the old Special Papers I[/q1]
[q1]>wonder if anyone can add to the discussion by letting me know if the take-up for these was[/q1]
[q1]>universal across colleges & schools or patchy! I would suggest that the pattern of AEA may[/q1]
[q1]>replicate that of the old specials.[/q1]

Plus ca change .... Specials were just as patchy as STEP, and I'd be surprised if AEA is
any better. If it *is* better, it will be precisely because AS/A2 will have failed [at
the top end].

[q1]>Good point - I think they might come looking for help & coaching in this case. I would argue with[/q1]
[q1]>them that coaching them through a particular question would be of little benifit as (hopefully)[/q1]
[q1]>questions would not be standard and repeating. [...][/q1]

That was the hope with STEP. But it won't happen that way. Firstly, simply doing lots of
problems is of benefit -- the students learn ways into tackling new areas, somewhat a la
Polya. Secondly, we live in a bureaucratic age. There will be rules and regulations, and
schools will appeal/complain if the exams are very different from year to year. They will
want guidance about what to expect, and after two or three years it will just be another
paper -- question 1 is always a "difficult" integral needing substitution *and* parts, Q2
something about optimisation, Q3 a modelling/mechanics question, and so on.

[q2]>> >I know some Uni's insist on A level Further Maths for entry onto a[/q2]
[q1]>course.[/q1]
[q2]>> I don't know of any offhand, though I haven't checked.[/q2]
[q1]>I think Warwick might. That's word of mouth though![/q1]

No, I see around 350 single-maths-only applications to do maths at Warwick each year,
until this year, when around half of those have switched to AS FMaths. A large majority of
our Oxbridge applicants [perhaps 85%] have always offered FMaths, but there are lots who
don't. You might have better luck with some very specialised courses [mathematical physics
or similar].

[q1]>We have no option (currently) of offering differing modules to our A level students based on their[/q1]
[q1]>other subjects - they don't break down nicely into "Physics students" on one side and[/q1]
[q1]>"Psychologists etc." on the other - this is largely due to the wierd and wonderful combos of 4 AS[/q1]
[q1]>levels students study nowadays. The old Maths, Phys, Chem idea has well gone![/q1]

Um, well, it's still more than half of our applicants, and I expect it's even more common
among chemists.

[q1]>We are not running FM next year - only 2 applicants. Our minimum is 6 [...][/q1]

That's a pity. Some schools are, apparently, happy to run FMaths even for 1 student, and
classes of 5 or fewer seem to be quite common. Especially for AS, where at least some
modules can be piggy-backed. It's one thing to put on a complete A-level for 2 students,
much easier to put on one or two modules, esp as these are likely to be your best students.

[q1]>The whole module combos thing is a minefield that most schools are fighting their way through to[/q1]
[q1]>offer maximum flexability of courses with minimal cost.[/q1]

Same at Univ level, of course, But just as schools, govt and students are pushing for more
flexibility, interdisciplinary courses, etc., other pressures [mostly govt, but also
efficiency drives within univs] are forcing us into more specialised courses, and the whole
caboodle is a mess.

[q1]>As it was I got a C - did Maths with Engineering at Nottingham, got a 2:1 and had a great time -[/q1]
[q1]>loved the course - loved the people - loved the city - still here![/q1]

Ah! As you may or may not know, the former Maths and TheoMech depts are now merged into the
one School. Starting this September, the courses will also be merged, at least for their
maths components. At some stage, we'll have to merge admissions policies!

--
Andy Walker, School of MathSci., Univ. of Nott'm, UK. [email protected]
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K. Edgcombe
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#128
In article <[email protected] m.ac.uk>, Dr A. N. Walker <[email protected]> wrote:
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]>>I know some Uni's insist on A level Further Maths for entry onto a course.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I don't know of any offhand, though I haven't checked. If, eg, Cambridge do, then they have[/q1]
[q1]> remarkably many applicants who are utterly wasting their time.[/q1]

Cambridge don't.

Having said that, if we interview someone for maths who is at a school where they could have done
further maths, and they have chosen not to, then we would want to ask why they chose not to. I
imagine most other Colleges in Cambridge feel the same.

Katy
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Gordon
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"steve.wren" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected] 11-gui.server.ntli.net>...

[q2]> > There may be no need for extra *content*, but there will be [perceived] need for extra teaching;[/q2]
[q2]> > your "bright sparks" will want to see and try past papers, and will expect to be coached on the[/q2]
[q2]> > techniques used to solve these harder/longer questions,[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I intend to give these students exposure to these AEA questions as part of the natural[/q1]
[q1]> differentiation and extension work in class (and will mark them as I do equally with work[/q1]
[q1]> designed to help the slower students along) but don't intend to offer any extra lessons or[/q1]
[q1]> coaching for the paper.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Perhaps other teachers could comment on plans at their institutons.[/q1]

At my school we have been spending maybe 1 lesson a week on AEA maths (this is in our regular
maths lessons). People who opted out would go away for that lesson and do some A-level questions.
People who opted in would go through AEA questions which they had to do in addition to our
regular homework.

Also, I would like to add that from what I have seen, AEAs are considerably easier than old
S-Papers. Then again, I havent done many papers..but that has been the impression I got. Also, the
AEA maths papers are much more 'conventional', more like standard A-level Maths while the old
S-Papers seemed to be more 'off-beat'.
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Danny
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On Mon, 17 Jun 2002 21:33:12 GMT, [email protected] (Ian/Cath Ford) wrote:

[q1]>On 17 Jun 2002 16:07:43 GMT, [email protected] (Dr A. N. Walker) wrote:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]>> The evidence is against you. One of the "study skills" exercises we do with our students, as[/q2]
[q2]>> part of teaching them to write maths properly, is to give them some student solutions to[/q2]
[q2]>> exam questions and invite them to critique and mark them. Given an essay and a list of[/q2]
[q2]>> criteria, they can usually agree on whether the essay is good, bad or indifferent, and they[/q2]
[q2]>> can rank five or six of them in a reasonably consistent order. Given a selection of "trad"[/q2]
[q2]>> maths questions, they really have no idea, even after discussion of where the solutions are[/q2]
[q2]>> right or wrong against the given criteria.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>How many people have done something like this at school then? I ask because it's an excellent[/q1]
[q1]>learning technique (and, Andy, I'm really impressed that unis (or, at least, you) are doing this[/q1]
[q1]>sort of thing).[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>Ian[/q1]

We did this in general studies. As it happens, I marked four essays and in three out of the four the
mark I awarded was exactly the same as our teacher. On the other one I was one mark out. Actually,
most of us were very good at marking other people's work. It shows that most students know what is
required to write a good exam answer, it's just they can't articulate it themselfs or they can't be
bothered to!

Dan
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Jhp
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Richard Magrath <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]> "JHP" <[email protected] t.co.uk> wrote in message[/q1]
news:<[email protected]>...
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > What do you mean? 'More attainable A grades' means that we will get more[/q2]
A
[q2]> > grade candidates and those who are better than A (as presently measured)[/q2]
are
[q2]> > disadvantaged.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Keep them as they are, I mean. Have university admissions people sort out who are the very best[/q1]
[q1]> students. The top unis interview anyway. Of course, A-level scores might be perfect evidence of[/q1]
[q1]> how a student will cope at university, I have no idea.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> And as for us assessing your school work - I;m afraid you[/q1]
[q2]> > have no idea how little I know about my subject at school level. It all seems immensely trivial[/q2]
[q2]> > to me, but that's school Business Studies for[/q2]
you.
[q2]> > I'd stick to the people who know, the secondary school teachers.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> What it boils down to is, I've never consciously thought about applying Assessment Objectives to[/q1]
[q1]> my writing in English (which is the subject I'm really on about - the one I'm hoping to carry on[/q1]
[q1]> after Year 13) and none of my teachers have ever recommended doing so, either. But I don't think[/q1]
[q1]> I'm too bad at the subject - I got an A* in it at GCSE, after all, even acheiving full marks on[/q1]
[q1]> one essay. So I'd be happier if getting an offer from Hypothetical College, London was based on[/q1]
[q1]> what their admissions people (presumably experienced teachers in that subject with Ph.Ds) saw in[/q1]
[q1]> my work and in their interview, with my getting an 'A' as evidence of at least a firm grasp of the[/q1]
[q1]> subject, than simply in matching all the esoteric & obscure marking criteria of the exam board.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Put yourself in my shoes, John. You're my age and you're half way through your exams (literally,[/q1]
[q1]> having just finished the new AS system). You really want a place at Cambridge or somewhere else[/q1]
[q1]> famous in your field of study. As you are also in an alternate universe where the A* grade exists,[/q1]
[q1]> this of course requires grades of A*AA. You sit the exams, then hear lots of horror stories about[/q1]
[q1]> marking - supposedly the exams are comparitively easy (though this means nothing to you, as you've[/q1]
[q1]> never taken any of the old exams to compare them with) but the marking is infamously slapdash.[/q1]
[q1]> This is worrying, as you really want that university place - it sounds sad, but it means the same[/q1]
[q1]> to you as a place on the Manchester United youth team would mean to your friends.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Through your inability to grasp the Assessment Objectives and apply them directly to your work,[/q1]
[q1]> you only manage an A (the horror! the horror!). You hope that Cambridge will let you have an[/q1]
[q1]> interview where you imagine your natural talent in the subject shining through, but no, they can't[/q1]
[q1]> offer you a place with your pitiful AAA grades.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> You go home and listen to your Smiths records, then start looking through the job openings[/q1]
[q1]> at ASDA.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> A bit melodramatic, yes, but there's a point in there somewhere. In theory the A* thing is a good[/q1]
[q1]> idea, but I can't in all faith support something that I myself would not wish to be introduced[/q1]
[q1]> during my own school career.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > John[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> BTW I asked my English teachers if they knew what an AEA is. None of them did...[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Rich[/q1]
I certainly see your situation and t some extent I can understand it. What I don't see is that
giving the judgement to us (the ATs) would really help. The A level system spends many, many hours
assessing you whereas I am already overworked to that extent that I couldn't spend more than about
10 minutes assessing a piece of work. Now maybe you would welcome that. and I agree that I would
see different things in it from your teachers (because they are looking for perfoirmnce on the
syllabus and I am looking for evidence of potential at University). Seems problematic to me. The
answer is probably to have a harder examination t oreplace A levels where very very few people get
the top grades.

By the way, the top universities do not all interview and many of the others
do. We don't interview for Business although if someone comes down for an Open day we give them a
chance to interview us. It's incredibly time consuming to interview.

John
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Matthew M. Hunt
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#132
Richard Magrath ([email protected]) wrote:

[q1]> What it boils down to is, I've never consciously thought about applying Assessment Objectives to[/q1]
[q1]> my writing in English (which is the subject I'm really on about - the one I'm hoping to carry on[/q1]
[q1]> after Year 13) and none of my teachers have ever recommended doing so, either. But I don't think[/q1]
[q1]> I'm too bad at the subject - I got an A* in it at GCSE, after all, even acheiving full marks on[/q1]
[q1]> one essay. So I'd be happier if getting an offer from Hypothetical College, London was based on[/q1]
[q1]> what their admissions people (presumably experienced teachers in that subject with Ph.Ds) saw in[/q1]
[q1]> my work and in their interview, with my getting an 'A' as evidence of at least a firm grasp of the[/q1]
[q1]> subject, than simply in matching all the esoteric & obscure marking criteria of the exam board.[/q1]

Would you? Why do you suppose that a brief chat with an academic, who probably rather resents being
made to give up an afternoon's research and have to do this job of interviewing will be so much
fairer than a properly worked out and marked assessment organised by people whose job it is to do
such assessments and which has a system of quality control to ensure it is fair?

[q1]> Put yourself in my shoes, John. You're my age and you're half way through your exams (literally,[/q1]
[q1]> having just finished the new AS system). You really want a place at Cambridge or somewhere else[/q1]
[q1]> famous in your field of study. As you are also in an alternate universe where the A* grade exists,[/q1]
[q1]> this of course requires grades of A*AA. You sit the exams, then hear lots of horror stories about[/q1]
[q1]> marking - supposedly the exams are comparitively easy (though this means nothing to you, as you've[/q1]
[q1]> never taken any of the old exams to compare them with) but the marking is infamously slapdash.[/q1]
[q1]> This is worrying, as you really want that university place - it sounds sad, but it means the same[/q1]
[q1]> to you as a place on the Manchester United youth team would mean to your friends.[/q1]

Er, do you suppose interviews are going to be any less slapdash? The fact is that the sort of
intensive well-considered assessment interview you seem to think is the norm does not exist many
places, outside maybe Oxbridge. Academics don't have time to do it, and besides we aren't qualified
to do it. Most interviews are just brief chats - something of value may come out of it, it may not.
It's a whole lot more slapdash than any formal exam system.

[q1]> Through your inability to grasp the Assessment Objectives and apply them directly to your work,[/q1]
[q1]> you only manage an A (the horror! the horror!). You hope that Cambridge will let you have an[/q1]
[q1]> interview where you imagine your natural talent in the subject shining through, but no, they can't[/q1]
[q1]> offer you a place with your pitiful AAA grades.[/q1]

Er, yes, we all have fantasies like that - somehow in the next social situation we are in, we will
just magically say the right thing and all our desires will come true. Real life doesn't work like
that, and besides isn't it unfair to make allocations on the basis that someone just happens to have
had the good fortune to have said just the right thing to show "natural talent shining through" at
just the right moment, while some other person who was just as talented couldn't quite manage it, or
was a bit to shy to come out with that sparkling witticism you think you would produce?

[q1]> You go home and listen to your Smiths records, then start looking through the job openings[/q1]
[q1]> at ASDA.[/q1]

Oh, what a stupid attitude. You have a AAA at A-level, grades that would get you into many top
university departments stuffed with leading experts in your subject, but you think life is over just
because you didn't get into Cambridge? Don't you realise how deeply insulting that attitude is to
all of us academic staff who work in other universities?

If your attitude is that life is over because you didn't get into Cambridge, then you aren't
suited to an academic career at all. It suggests you only wanted to get into Cambridge because you
are a snob.

Matthew Huntbach
0
Gordon
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[email protected] (Gordon) wrote in message
news:<9d8dbac3.0206190148.6fb6a0 [email protected]>...
[q1]> "steve.wren" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]
[q1]> news:<[email protected] 11-gui.server.ntli.net>...[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q3]> > > There may be no need for extra *content*, but there will be [perceived] need for extra[/q3]
[q3]> > > teaching; your "bright sparks" will want to see and try past papers, and will expect to be[/q3]
[q3]> > > coached on the techniques used to solve these harder/longer questions,[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > I intend to give these students exposure to these AEA questions as part of the natural[/q2]
[q2]> > differentiation and extension work in class (and will mark them as I do equally with work[/q2]
[q2]> > designed to help the slower students along) but don't intend to offer any extra lessons or[/q2]
[q2]> > coaching for the paper.[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Perhaps other teachers could comment on plans at their institutons.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> At my school we have been spending maybe 1 lesson a week on AEA maths (this is in our regular[/q1]
[q1]> maths lessons). People who opted out would go away for that lesson and do some A-level questions.[/q1]
[q1]> People who opted in would go through AEA questions which they had to do in addition to our regular[/q1]
[q1]> homework.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]

Forgot to say- 1 lesson a week for the past 5-6 weeks.
0
Richard Magrath
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#134
[email protected] (Matthew M. Huntbach) wrote in message news:<[email protected] uk>...

[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > Through your inability to grasp the Assessment Objectives and apply them directly to your work,[/q2]
[q2]> > you only manage an A (the horror! the horror!). You hope that Cambridge will let you have an[/q2]
[q2]> > interview where you imagine your natural talent in the subject shining through, but no, they[/q2]
[q2]> > can't offer you a place with your pitiful AAA grades.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Er, yes, we all have fantasies like that - somehow in the next social situation we are in, we will[/q1]
[q1]> just magically say the right thing and all our desires will come true. Real life doesn't work like[/q1]
[q1]> that, and besides isn't it unfair to make allocations on the basis that someone just happens to[/q1]
[q1]> have had the good fortune to have said just the right thing to show "natural talent shining[/q1]
[q1]> through" at just the right moment, while some other person who was just as talented couldn't quite[/q1]
[q1]> manage it, or was a bit to shy to come out with that sparkling witticism you think you would[/q1]
[q1]> produce?[/q1]

I'm describing my point of view as much as I'm outlining an actual argument. I was explaining to
John HP why I would hold the anti-A* view, as I can certainly see why he would embrace it. And from
my point of view, yes, it is tempting (even if completely unrealistic) to believe that a university
fellow would be a better judge of talent than an examiner, because the former has a degree whereas
the latter has a reputation (from no less than this newsgroup) for unreliability. You don't need to
now reply and criticse what I've just written, BTW, because again I stress that I'm not saying that
this is how things really are.

[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > You go home and listen to your Smiths records, then start looking through the job openings[/q2]
[q2]> > at ASDA.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Oh, what a stupid attitude. You have a AAA at A-level, grades that would get you into many top[/q1]
[q1]> university departments stuffed with leading experts in your subject, but you think life is over[/q1]
[q1]> just because you didn't get into Cambridge? Don't you realise how deeply insulting that attitude[/q1]
[q1]> is to all of us academic staff who work in other universities?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> If your attitude is that life is over because you didn't get into Cambridge, then you aren't[/q1]
[q1]> suited to an academic career at all. It suggests you only wanted to get into Cambridge because you[/q1]
[q1]> are a snob.[/q1]

Unless, of course, I was just exaggerating the matter for dramatic effect. The Smiths records were
the hint... I was using Cambridge simply as an example of a top university, picking that one because
I know that they do interview, and to side-step the problem of inadvertently suggesting that other
universities adopt a costly and time-consuming in-depth interview process.

You're in a very different position to me. You're a lecturer, and presumably have a degree. I on the
other hand am a sixth former, in the precarious position of having the opportunity to acheive a
place at a top university which I have only dreamt of attending - or of falling to the intense
pressure from friends and family to go to a local college, which I would really see as a failure.

Don't think of me as one of these people who has a history of all A's and is worrying over nothing.
I have as much chance of ending up at Warrington Collegiate doing a HND in something as I do at
Cambridge.

Rich
0
Matthew M. Hunt
Badges:
#135
Report 17 years ago
#135
Richard Magrath ([email protected]) wrote:
[q1]> [email protected] (Matthew M. Huntbach) wrote in message news:[/q1]

[q2]> > Er, yes, we all have fantasies like that - somehow in the next social situation we are in, we[/q2]
[q2]> > will just magically say the right thing and all our desires will come true.[/q2]

[q1]> And from my point of view, yes, it is tempting (even if completely unrealistic) to believe that a[/q1]
[q1]> university fellow would be a better judge of talent than an examiner, because the former has a[/q1]
[q1]> degree whereas the latter has a reputation (from no less than this newsgroup) for unreliability.[/q1]

If applicants to university think like that, they need to be corrected on their assumptions. It
suggests a rather awe-struck belief about the way universities function, which certainly isn't
matched by mundane reality.

[q2]> > If your attitude is that life is over because you didn't get into Cambridge, then you aren't[/q2]
[q2]> > suited to an academic career at all. It suggests you only wanted to get into Cambridge because[/q2]
[q2]> > you are a snob.[/q2]

[q1]> Unless, of course, I was just exaggerating the matter for dramatic effect.[/q1]

Yes, I assumed you were. My paragraph might have been better written "If one's attitude is that life
is over because one ..." to indicate I wasn't suggesting that you personally held these views.
However, it is not an uncommon attitude, as we often see in this newsgroup.

[q1]> You're in a very different position to me. You're a lecturer, and presumably have a degree. I on[/q1]
[q1]> the other hand am a sixth former, in the precarious position of having the opportunity to acheive[/q1]
[q1]> a place at a top university which I have only dreamt of attending - or of falling to the intense[/q1]
[q1]> pressure from friends and family to go to a local college, which I would really see as a failure.[/q1]

But there you go - that's precisely the attitude I'm criticising. You suggest there's no midway
point between "a top university" and "a local college". The hint is that unless you get into
Oxbridge, you're one of life's failures. The fact is that there are a large number of very good
university departments in the UK, many of which require only reasonably good A-level to get into.

I'm in a university department which is reasonably well regarded academically, which I believe
offers a good degree (and so do the external examiners, one of whom happens to be at Cambridge), but
which is a place which takes many applicants for whom we were not the first choice. I do feel
insulted at the not-so-veiled suggestion in your comments, that someone who ends up in my department
is one of life's failures and it's no better than "the local college".

Matthew Huntbach
0
Chris Howells
Badges:
#136
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#136
steve.wren wrote:

[q1]> As a teacher I'm very much against introducing an A* grade at A level. All it would effectively do[/q1]
[q1]> is downgrade all achievements by 1 level.[/q1]

As a student who did fairly well at GCSE (A*, 5A, 3B) and appallingly at AS (C,D,D,E), I am also
against introducing A* at A-Level.

Maybe it's partially the fault of the school (for A-Level I've had 6 chemistry teachers including
three heads of chemistry, and 3 physics teachers including one period where we didn't have a teacher
for four months), and no doubt partially my fault.

But IMHO the government has done enough mucking up of A-Levels, which it has not yet corrected. I
don't think it would be appropriate to change things any more at this time.

--
Cheers, Chris Howells -- [email protected], [email protected] Web: http://chrishowells.co.uk,
PGP key: http://chrishowells.co.uk/pgp.txt KDE: http://www.koffice.org, http://edu.kde.org,
http://usability.kde.org
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Steve.Wren
Badges:
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#137
[q2]> >We obviously don't know if AEA will take off. Since it's a replacement[/q2]
for
[q2]> >the old Special Papers I wonder if anyone can add to the discussion by letting me know if the[/q2]
[q2]> >take-up for these was universal across colleges & schools or patchy! I would suggest that the[/q2]
[q2]> >pattern of AEA may replicate that of the old specials.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Plus ca change .... Specials were just as patchy as STEP, and I'd be surprised if AEA is any[/q1]
[q1]> better. If it *is* better, it will be precisely because AS/A2 will have failed [at the top end].[/q1]

This is where my lack of years in teaching stop me knowing these things (and why I'm getting so much
out of this list & discussions) . I've never actually seen a Special paper in maths (except the one
I did which I have no recollection of at all!).

[q2]>>The old Maths, Phys, Chem idea has well gone![/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Um, well, it's still more than half of our applicants, and I expect it's even more common among[/q1]
[q1]> chemists.[/q1]

We do not have a single applicant for next year doing "the big three" - we have only 4 candidates
this year (of 80 in the college) doing the three subjects together.

[q2]> >We are not running FM next year - only 2 applicants. Our minimum is 6[/q2]
[...]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> That's a pity. Some schools are, apparently, happy to run FMaths even for 1 student, and classes[/q1]
[q1]> of 5 or fewer seem to be quite common.[/q1]

We'd love to run the course but are currently in the bottom 10 funded schools in Derbyshire (per
pupil) and Derbyshire is one of the poorest funded counties in the country. There is a hige list of
"would like to do's" which we are prevented from doing by the funding formulae currently used by
Derbyshire.

[q1]> Ah! As you may or may not know, the former Maths and TheoMech depts are now merged into the[/q1]
[q1]> one School.[/q1]

Yeah - I've stayed in close touch with some of the Theo Mechers. I see some of them out and about in
Nottingham and always say hi.

We brought our Year 12 Maths students out to your open day this year (Further students loved it,
single students felt it was a bit OTT!).

Cheers,

Steve
0
Peter Lloyd
Badges:
#138
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#138
"Ian/Cath Ford" <[email protected]> wrote:
[q1]> Who has no A*s at all - although, clearly, that's only because they didn't exist in those days and[/q1]
[q1]> nothing to do with me being a right lazy ******* at school....[/q1]

But I've had people approach me in the past and ask me why I didn't get any A*s at AS Level........
so the reverse can apply too...

Peter
0
Ian/Cath Ford
Badges:
#139
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#139
On Wed, 19 Jun 2002 15:28:02 +0100, Danny <[email protected]?.mo c> wrote:

[q1]>We did this in general studies. As it happens, I marked four essays and in three out of the four[/q1]
[q1]>the mark I awarded was exactly the same as our teacher. On the other one I was one mark out.[/q1]
[q1]>Actually, most of us were very good at marking other people's work. It shows that most students[/q1]
[q1]>know what is required to write a good exam answer, it's just they can't articulate it themselfs or[/q1]
[q1]>they can't be bothered to![/q1]

OK - so did you ever try and do it for your *own* work? That's often one of the aims of all this
stuff - make ou aware of how markschemes work, sure, but also try and get you guys to be more
evaluative of your own stuff. I think it's harder for your own and that you tend to be tougher on
yourself sometimes.

Often, though, people can't see their own mistakes - I've done this thing with Yr 9 where I put
transcripts of work up on the board that kids have proofed and checked and so on and they actually
don't make sense in at least part. They see it up on the board but can't see it in their own book -
or even in the person next to thems. Fantastic - must do more of that next year I think.

Ian
--
Ian, Cath & Eoin Ford The view from Beccles

Support clubs against Carlton & Granada: Boycott ITV world cup coverage.

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Ian/Cath Ford
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#140
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#140
On Wed, 19 Jun 2002 20:29:25 GMT, "Peter Lloyd" <[email protected]> wrote:

[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>"Ian/Cath Ford" <[email protected]> wrote:[/q1]
[q2]>> Who has no A*s at all - although, clearly, that's only because they didn't exist in those days[/q2]
[q2]>> and nothing to do with me being a right lazy ******* at school....[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>But I've had people approach me in the past and ask me why I didn't get any A*s at AS Level........[/q1]
[q1]>so the reverse can apply too...[/q1]

Sorry - I wasn't really trying to make any point with that other than to take the piss a
little more :-)

Ian
--
Ian, Cath & Eoin Ford The view from Beccles

Support clubs against Carlton & Granada: Boycott ITV world cup coverage.

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