There should be A*s at A Level

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Richard Magrath
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#161
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#161
[q1]> "Peter Windridge" <[email protected] m> wrote in message [Einstein's Nobel Prize][/q1]
[q2]> > Brownian motion, as I remember sir.[/q2]

Or was it?

http://almaz.com/nobel/physics/1921a.html

Actually, I was told by my physics teacher that Einstein couldn't have a Nobel prize for relativity
because the Nobel prize-winning thing must have some practical application (hence there being no
Nobel prize for maths). Einstein got his for the photoelectric effect not because that was some
fantastic, world-shaking discovery (which it wasn't), but because it gave them an excuse to award
him in part for his "services to theoretical physics" (quotation taken from the website above).

So it's strange that three years before, Max Planck got a Nobel prize "in recognition of the
services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta", that
is, in working out that h = 6.63x10^-34 where h = E/f. I can't really see the practical
application there...

Rich
0
Davido
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#162
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#162
[q1]> What's with the coursework-bashing? You refer to chemistry which I don't know much about, but in[/q1]
[q1]> physics the mark scheme took into account any help you'd been given.[/q1]

Coursework-bashing because at our college it seemed that people getting D/E grades in exams were
getting nice chunky As in the coursework, elevating their AS grade in some cases up to a B. Not that
cheating was evident, but that the coursework instructions seemed to be fairly easy, thus everyone
getting an A.

[q1]> Surely coursework is, more than anything, good evidence of a student's actual talent?[/q1]

Well what's annoying is that coursework doesn't appear to reflect talent at all, it appears to be
used to make getting a certain grade much more attainable. Take AQA Literature for example - module
2 you have a coursework or written option. The average grade for the coursework option is a B, for
the written option a D.

Coursework would be respected if it was a good reflection of a student's ability, with
coursework marks matching exam ones, rather than people getting Ds in exams, high As in
coursework = Bs overall.
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Peter Windridge
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#163
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#163
Brownian motion, as I remember sir.

"Richard Magrath" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q1]> [email protected] (Davido) wrote in message[/q1]
news:<b74f6c67.0206290230.1ec406 [email protected]>...
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > Student C gets 96% thanks to top marks on practical and written components. Student D scrapes 80[/q2]
[q2]> > (grade A) thanks to (teacher-aided) coursework and practical components[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> What's with the coursework-bashing? You refer to chemistry which I don't know much about, but in[/q1]
[q1]> physics the mark scheme took into account any help you'd been given. Indeed, on one of the pieces[/q1]
[q1]> of coursework I lost a good few marks because of the amount of help I needed building a[/q1]
[q1]> capacitor-based displacement sensor (as you do...).[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Surely coursework is, more than anything, good evidence of a student's actual talent? No-one said[/q1]
[q1]> to Einstein "this Relativity thing is all well and good, but I'm afraid we can't give you the[/q1]
[q1]> nobel prize because it wasn't written as part of a timed and observed examination". Actually, come[/q1]
[q1]> to think of it, Einstein didn't get the nobel prize for that anyway. I think it was the[/q1]
[q1]> photoelectric effect he got it for.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I don't mean to sound really argumentative, I haven't used a computer for a week and it's hard[/q1]
[q1]> getting back into the swing of things! I seem to have even forgotten how to type properly...[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Rich[/q1]
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Ray Pang
Badges:
#164
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#164
"Richard Magrath" <[email protected]> wrote in message
[q1]> So it's strange that three years before, Max Planck got a Nobel prize "in recognition of the[/q1]
[q1]> services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta", that is, in[/q1]
[q1]> working out that h = 6.63x10^-34 where h = E/f. I can't really see the practical application[/q1]
[q1]> there...[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Rich[/q1]

Doesn't that mean he worked out that energy was discrete, or quantisable (is that the right word)
rather than a continuous, er, quantity. That is a massive discovery.
0
Ath
Badges:
#165
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#165
"Richard Magrath" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q2]> > "Peter Windridge" <[email protected] m> wrote in message [Einstein's Nobel Prize][/q2]
[q3]> > > Brownian motion, as I remember sir.[/q3]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Or was it?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> http://almaz.com/nobel/physics/1921a.html[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Actually, I was told by my physics teacher that Einstein couldn't have a Nobel prize for[/q1]
[q1]> relativity because the Nobel prize-winning thing must have some practical application (hence[/q1]
[q1]> there being no Nobel prize for maths). Einstein got his for the photoelectric effect not because[/q1]
[q1]> that was some fantastic, world-shaking discovery (which it wasn't), but because it gave them an[/q1]
[q1]> excuse to award him in part for his "services to theoretical physics" (quotation taken from the[/q1]
[q1]> website above).[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> So it's strange that three years before, Max Planck got a Nobel prize "in recognition of the[/q1]
[q1]> services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta", that is, in[/q1]
[q1]> working out that h = 6.63x10^-34 where h = E/f. I can't really see the practical application[/q1]
[q1]> there...[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Rich[/q1]

it's important because.... oh yea i finished my physics a-level last week... got... to... get...
normal... again...

--
Aonghus
[email protected] [replace xxx with com to reply]
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Steve.Wren
Badges:
#166
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#166
[q1]> Coursework-bashing because at our college it seemed that people getting D/E grades in exams were[/q1]
[q1]> getting nice chunky As in the coursework, elevating their AS grade in some cases up to a B. Not[/q1]
[q1]> that cheating was evident, but that the coursework instructions seemed to be fairly easy, thus[/q1]
[q1]> everyone getting an A.[/q1]

We are running A level Further maths at our institution this year for 5 students. We looked at doing
the OCR coursework module with these 5 students.

Myself and our Head of faculty attended the OCR training day on the Coursework module (run by the
sole moderator).

Part of the course involved a piece of genuine work being passed around for us to discuss. The work
was a relatively simple piece (about see-saws and cranes if I recall).

The grades in the room (approx 12 maths teachers new to A level coursework) after 20 mins looking
through the work varied between "high D" and "middle E". We were shocked to find that the work had
been awarded a comfortable A.

This happened for several other pieces (although by now we were lowering our ideas fo what a "grade
A" piece looked like and were more accurate).

We are doing the coursework with our Further Maths students this year.

We looked at introducing it to our single maths groups for next year *but* the way the
specifications are set up it is impossible to do the coursework module *and* have a balanced applied
side to the course.

Our intention was to do P1, P2, P3, M1, S1, Cwk which is an illegal combo - a shame as we could have
grounded our single maths students in both sides of applied and allowed them to extend their
knowledge in their preffered direction (ie. more pure, more stats, more mechanics or eve venture
into discrete)

You have to do P1, p2, P3 and either S1, S2 or M1,M2 or D1, D2 to be allowed to do the cwk option.

Also in Maths Coursework each student is meant to do a different "topic" - as far as is possible as
clearly in a big centre there may be some overlapping of topics.

This doesn't appear to be the case in some other subjects at A level where many students *appear* to
be working on the identical project and thus can share ideas etc.

Steve

[q2]> > Surely coursework is, more than anything, good evidence of a student's actual talent?[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Well what's annoying is that coursework doesn't appear to reflect talent at all, it appears to be[/q1]
[q1]> used to make getting a certain grade much more attainable. Take AQA Literature for example -[/q1]
[q1]> module 2 you have a coursework or written option. The average grade for the coursework option is a[/q1]
[q1]> B, for the written option a D.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Coursework would be respected if it was a good reflection of a student's ability, with coursework[/q1]
[q1]> marks matching exam ones, rather than people getting Ds in exams, high As in coursework = Bs[/q1]
[q1]> overall.[/q1]
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Pete Bartlett
Badges:
#167
Report 18 years ago
#167
"Peter Windridge" <[email protected] m> wrote in message [Einstein's Nobel Prize]
[q1]> Brownian motion, as I remember sir.[/q1]

Which was essentially invented by Louis Bachelier several years earlier when he was studying the
fluctations of the French stock market. The elistest Lycees (or is Ecoles) around Paris thought
studying at the markets was a dirty unacademic pursuit and he failed even to get his thesis
accepted. Einstein got a Nobel Prize.

From the now republished thesis, a quote to pass anyone who thinks they know what is going to happen
to share prices:

"Clearly the price considered most likely by the market is the true current price: if the market
judged otherwise, it would quote not this price, but another price higher or lower."

Louis Bachelier

Pete
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Pete Bartlett
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#168
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#168
To be fair, having come up with the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity and
general reliativity AND being related to Mother Teresa, I think he deserved the gong.

Pete
0
Richard Magrath
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#169
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#169
"Ray Pang" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
[q1]> "Richard Magrath" <[email protected]> wrote in message[/q1]
[q2]> > So it's strange that three years before, Max Planck got a Nobel prize "in recognition of the[/q2]
[q2]> > services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta", that is,[/q2]
[q2]> > in working out that h = 6.63x10^-34 where h = E/f. I can't really see the practical application[/q2]
[q2]> > there...[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Rich[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Doesn't that mean he worked out that energy was discrete, or quantisable (is that the right word)[/q1]
[q1]> rather than a continuous, er, quantity. That is a massive discovery.[/q1]

I'm not saying that it's not a massive discovery. Relativity was a turning point in science as well.
But the Nobel prize board seemed to have more trouble awarding the latter a prize, though they did
acknowledge its importance (hence Einstein eventually getting an award).

I admit here that physics isn't my strongest subject. I was just using it as an example of a piece
of important scientific work done in

BTW, Davido, I would still say that the reason why students get better marks in coursework is
because the medium allows them to shine more. Especially in AQA English Lit - my teacher, when
explaining why she chose the coursework option, said that it's because students always do better
when they can study books of their own choosing, rather than being forced to study texts that
they might not even enjoy. Perhaps coursework should be marked more harshly, but I don't think
there's any dubious reason why students do so much better at coursework than in exams, cheating
and so forth.

Rich

Rich

Rich
0
Peter Windridge
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#170
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#170
Okay, "especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect", but a little bit for
Brownian Motion, please

"Richard Magrath" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q2]> > "Peter Windridge" <[email protected] m> wrote in message [Einstein's Nobel Prize][/q2]
[q3]> > > Brownian motion, as I remember sir.[/q3]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Or was it?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> http://almaz.com/nobel/physics/1921a.html[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Actually, I was told by my physics teacher that Einstein couldn't have a Nobel prize for[/q1]
[q1]> relativity because the Nobel prize-winning thing must have some practical application (hence[/q1]
[q1]> there being no Nobel prize for maths). Einstein got his for the photoelectric effect not because[/q1]
[q1]> that was some fantastic, world-shaking discovery (which it wasn't), but because it gave them an[/q1]
[q1]> excuse to award him in part for his "services to theoretical physics" (quotation taken from the[/q1]
[q1]> website above).[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> So it's strange that three years before, Max Planck got a Nobel prize "in recognition of the[/q1]
[q1]> services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta", that is, in[/q1]
[q1]> working out that h = 6.63x10^-34 where h = E/f. I can't really see the practical application[/q1]
[q1]> there...[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Rich[/q1]
0
Matthew Huntbac
Badges:
#171
Report 18 years ago
#171
Richard Magrath ([email protected]) wrote:

[q1]> Surely coursework is, more than anything, good evidence of a student's actual talent? No-one said[/q1]
[q1]> to Einstein "this Relativity thing is all well and good, but I'm afraid we can't give you the[/q1]
[q1]> nobel prize because it wasn't written as part of a timed and observed examination".[/q1]

Yes, but there was no suspicion that Einstein's work on relativity was actually done by his mum, or
his big brother, or the prof his dad was friendly with who owed him a favour, or he found it on an
internet site, or he came across it in the answers distributed last year, or ...

The reason I dislike coursework and make it only a minor component of the assessment of my
university course is that students *always* cheat on it. You simply cannot prove it is their own
work. The phenomenon of the student who submits A-grade couursework but under exam conditions can
hardly string together a couple of lines on the subject is very common.

Matthew Huntbach
0
Peter Windridge
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#172
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#172
Agreed. In physics, people can get A grades but actually have a poor knowledge etc and do poorly in
exams. On the other hand, exams aren't perfect either.

"Matthew Huntbach" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> Richard Magrath ([email protected]) wrote:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > Surely coursework is, more than anything, good evidence of a student's actual talent? No-one[/q2]
[q2]> > said to Einstein "this Relativity thing is all well and good, but I'm afraid we can't give you[/q2]
[q2]> > the nobel prize because it wasn't written as part of a timed and observed examination".[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Yes, but there was no suspicion that Einstein's work on relativity was actually done by his mum,[/q1]
[q1]> or his big brother, or the prof his dad was friendly with who owed him a favour, or he found it on[/q1]
[q1]> an internet site, or he came across it in the answers distributed last year, or ...[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The reason I dislike coursework and make it only a minor component of the assessment of my[/q1]
[q1]> university course is that students *always* cheat on it. You simply cannot prove it is their own[/q1]
[q1]> work. The phenomenon of the student who submits A-grade couursework but under exam conditions can[/q1]
[q1]> hardly string together a couple of lines on the subject is very[/q1]
common.
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Matthew Huntbach[/q1]
0
John Porcella
Badges:
#173
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#173
"Matthew Huntbach" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> Richard Magrath ([email protected]) wrote:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > Surely coursework is, more than anything, good evidence of a student's actual talent? No-one[/q2]
[q2]> > said to Einstein "this Relativity thing is all well and good, but I'm afraid we can't give you[/q2]
[q2]> > the nobel prize because it wasn't written as part of a timed and observed examination".[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Yes, but there was no suspicion that Einstein's work on relativity was actually done by his mum,[/q1]
[q1]> or his big brother, or the prof his dad was friendly with who owed him a favour, or he found it on[/q1]
[q1]> an internet site, or he came across it in the answers distributed last year, or ...[/q1]

Of interest...they announced last year that they found out that E=MC^2 was discovered by an Italian
scientist before Einstein.

--
MESSAGE ENDS. John Porcella
0
Ian/Cath Ford
Badges:
#174
Report 17 years ago
#174
On 8 Jul 2002 09:22:49 GMT, [email protected] (Matthew Huntbach) wrote:

[q1]>The reason I dislike coursework and make it only a minor component of the assessment of my[/q1]
[q1]>university course is that students *always* cheat on it. You simply cannot prove it is their own[/q1]
[q1]>work. The phenomenon of[/q1]

What coursework can do - if it's well designed - is, of course, differntiate in favour of hard
working students and against those who don't bother doing anything until the last minute. In fact,
the correlation between effort and grade are excellent I'd suggest - or they certainly are in the
pieces I see.

Of course, this is based on individual investigations, the titles of which have to be submitted
previously. Almost impossible to rip off.

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

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

You know what to do: delete the dots but leave the .s to reply to us.
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Matthew Huntbac
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#175
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#175
Ian/Cath Ford ([email protected]) wrote:
[q1]> On 8 Jul 2002 09:22:49 GMT, [email protected] (Matthew Huntbach) wrote:[/q1]

[q2]> >The reason I dislike coursework and make it only a minor component of the assessment of my[/q2]
[q2]> >university course is that students *always* cheat on it. You simply cannot prove it is their own[/q2]
[q2]> >work. The phenomenon of[/q2]

[q1]> What coursework can do - if it's well designed - is, of course, differntiate in favour of hard[/q1]
[q1]> working students and against those who don't bother doing anything until the last minute.[/q1]

In my course I have no problem making such a differentiation. Computer programming is something you
learn by doing. Those who don't bother doing anything until the last minute ALWAYS fail.

I had a couple of this year's exam failures in my office yesterday. They wanted me to go through
the exam paper, and I kept showing them that there had been exercises set which were very similar
to the exam questions - had they worked through the exercises, they would have learnt the material,
and been able to use it in exam conditions. On each case, they admitted, that, no, they hadn't done
the exercise.

These were unmarked exercises. When they are marked coursework, many of them still don't do it, they
copy answers from their friends. Then, having submitted complete working programs as coursework,
they can hardly put together a couple of lines of code in exams.

Matthew Huntbach
0
Jhp
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#176
Report 17 years ago
#176
steve.wren <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
[q2]> > ....Student X...Student Y P1 100 83 P2 90 72 P3 95 79 M1 100 87 M2 95 76 S1 100 83[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > Student X gets an impressive 97%, student Y just scrapes 80%. Under the current system, there is[/q2]
[q2]> > no difference between these 2 students, an A is an A. Student X gets no recognition for their[/q2]
[q2]> > great score, employers wouldn't exactly ask for percentages...[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Then would a similar arguement begin about whether there should be an A**[/q1]
to
[q1]> discriminate between 99% and a just scrape 90%?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Would it therefore be preferable to, rather than award gardes, just award each student their mean[/q1]
[q1]> mark on a certificate?[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> This way Unis and employers could compare candidates directly - although this may lead to students[/q1]
[q1]> taking module choices solely to increase their mean mark as opposed to adding to their rounded[/q1]
[q1]> maths knowledge (eg. when[/q1]
i
[q1]> was at Uni some students picked their 3rd year modules based on what, historically, had a[/q1]
[q1]> reputation as easy courses in order to ensure a 2:1 or whatever rather than pick a harder course[/q1]
[q1]> which had a greater interest or relevence to the student.)[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Alos moderation between exam boards, syllabi and module combos would have[/q1]
to
[q1]> be tightened to ensure that a 55% (for example) was equivalent across all possible choices.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q2]> > Student C gets 96% thanks to top marks on practical and written components. Student D scrapes 80[/q2]
[q2]> > (grade A) thanks to (teacher-aided) coursework and practical components, whilst being B/C on the[/q2]
[q2]> > written side.[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The problem seems to be here that either[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> a) there is a claim that practical skills are not as important at a level and shouldn't be allowed[/q1]
[q1]> to influence a students grade[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> or b) that practical and/or coursework tasks are open to cheating by extra help from teachers.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I'm no Chemistry teacher so I'll steer clear of making any statements[/q1]
about
[q1]> (a) but I am introducing the Coursework module for our A level Further[/q1]
Maths
[q1]> students as i feel it allows the students to investigate areas of maths which interest them[/q1]
[q1]> greatly but which are outside the confines of the syllabus.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The exam board insist that each students topic is different (to prevent collaboration etc.). As a[/q1]
[q1]> teacher I am permitted to give assistance but[/q1]
any
[q1]> assistance should be recorded and taken into account when marking the task (which is then sent for[/q1]
[q1]> external moderation).[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> In any coursework task there is always the issue of parental or staff cheating - it is down to the[/q1]
[q1]> proffessionalism of staff to ensure this deosn't happen.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> Steve[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> But under the current system they're as good as each other, a[/q1]
[q2]> > Grade A is a Grade A...[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > If there was A* for 90, WITHOUT lowering the requirement for A (80), then the top students would[/q2]
[q2]> > be recognised. At GCSE, in many subjects an A* was quite a challenge and required a decent[/q2]
[q2]> > amount of work. At A Level, the top students may feel there's little point in doing so much work[/q2]
[q2]> > if the 80 needed for an A is attainable...[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
From the university perspective, I feel that having grades is better than having the marks. The
latter appears to give more information but in fact it doesn't, because it lends a specious
authority to the assessment, so we may well end up discriminating between a 85% candidate and a 86%
candidate when there is actually no difference (in fact the higher one is quite likely to be less
good than the lower. Having grade spreads reduces this type of error (for most candidates).

Coursework is inevitable, like death and taxes, but like those, I wish it weren't there. If I had a
was effectively to discriminate against coursework in A levels I would. I feel that it is very
susceptible to cheating and, in particular, personation.

Sorry.

John
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