Sciencemadness Discussion Board
Not logged in [Login ]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
 Pages:  1  2
Author: Subject: Safe or Stupid?
blogfast25
Thought-provoking Teacher
*****




Posts: 10334
Registered: 3-2-2008
Location: Old Blighty
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 24-9-2008 at 07:06


ScienceSquirrel:

[Assuming you are American, of course,] are things really that bad in the US education system, or is there a good dollop of the ole' perception going on there? I'm asking because we get the same moans here in the UK, when objectively speaking education-wise things simply have never been better... The latter doesn't mean things can not be improved upon but we definitely have seen a period of sustained improvements on most levels and in most aspects.

Anglo Saxons would benefit from relinquishing the highly profitable Cult of Zelebrity, which provides a largely non-aspirational, non-productive role model for many youngsters and detracts seriously from more... erm, serious activities.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
ScienceSquirrel
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1863
Registered: 18-6-2008
Location: Brittany
Member Is Offline

Mood: Dogs are pets but cats are little furry humans with four feet and self determination! :(

[*] posted on 24-9-2008 at 07:41


No I am British and I worked as a teacher for a while.

I did O and A levels back in 1979 and 1981 followed by my first degree.

Compare an O level paper from say the late seventies with a current GCSE top stream paper and you will realise that there is simply no contest.
The O level paper was designed to be hard and aimed at the academic, the GCSE paper tries to be all things to all men and women so it is a lot easier and more accessible.

Also the reliance on course work encourages plagiarism and in some cases outright cheating.

Also I read some university lab reports in the 1990's, the average standard was OK but some would have been returned unmarked in the 1980's as the English was so poor.

The best schools and universities in the UK and the US are still very good and amongst the best in the world, down in the middle and the rear echelons there is some truely awful crap going on in my opinion.

There may be some very talented Americans who write and speak excellent English, sadly as far as I can see and hear none of them have decided to enter politics or seek employment in the media for the last few decades.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
blogfast25
Thought-provoking Teacher
*****




Posts: 10334
Registered: 3-2-2008
Location: Old Blighty
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 24-9-2008 at 08:34


Well, I'm not British but have lived in Britain for longer than I care to remember and can only go by my own experience (or rather my 14 year old daughter's) which is excellent so far (she started here at the age of four).

This is even more remarkable as the high school she's attending only recently came out of Special Measures. Well, if that school merited special measures then I really wonder what kind of unrealistic goals were set in the first place... Our area (Bridlington) is neither particularly affluent (quite the contrary) and definitely somewhat "culturally challenged", so no reason for positive bias there either.

There will inevitably schools that do far less well, of course.

As regards GCSEs and such like, that's a move that's not particularly British: in many European countries there is that tendency to "dilution", which unfortunately ends up pleasing nobody. That's definitely an area where redress is possible... A certain Nanny State<i>ish</i> tendency to muddle at every level doesn't always pay off...
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
ScienceSquirrel
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 1863
Registered: 18-6-2008
Location: Brittany
Member Is Offline

Mood: Dogs are pets but cats are little furry humans with four feet and self determination! :(

[*] posted on 24-9-2008 at 09:06


The old exams were a lot different in so far as they stressed the learning of facts.

This was dreadfully dull but it did mean that you learnt a huge amount of descriptive chemistry which was very useful. Modern day text books seldom have the quantity of stuff that was contained in the old style texts.
But a lot of it was old fangled chemistry, it still has relevance today eg industrial processes, modern texts are much more focused on chemistry as it relates to the pupils' lives.
On the other hand, a lot of this chemistry was practical in a school lab and a much more laissez faire attitude meant that practicals could involve making chromyl chloride and much else beside.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
blogfast25
Thought-provoking Teacher
*****




Posts: 10334
Registered: 3-2-2008
Location: Old Blighty
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 24-9-2008 at 11:42


Trying to make chemistry and physics more relevant to pupils' lives is an attempt to spark the imagination, I guess. So far as I can tell that's not working brilliantly. I guess you either have the natural sciences spark or you don't: outside influences, independent from schooling, probably influence more what speaks to the imagination of a young person than school itself.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
jgourlay
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 249
Registered: 9-7-2008
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 24-9-2008 at 13:09


Watson: I picked up a copy of the book off Alibris. I like your approach.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
JohnWW
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 2849
Registered: 27-7-2004
Location: New Zealand
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 24-9-2008 at 21:04


Oh yes, I am well aware of the widespread "dumbing down" of the education system in many countries including the UK and U$A as well as here in New Zealand, at all levels, including in university Science, Engineering, and Commerce degree courses, over about the last 30 years, and especially the last 15 years. It appears to be mostly due to the advent of "user-pays" education, and cost-cutting funding systems in which funds are allocated according to the through-put of students (i.e. the number of passes) instead of the actual student numbers. This has resulted in schools and universities being much more eager in recent years to pass "marginal" students than previously, and, in so doing, make examinations easier. Another reason for it is the advent of Official Information Acts and Privacy Acts in many countries (including mine in 1982 and 1993 respectively), which now gives students access to copies of their marked examination scripts, making it much more difficult for students to be corruptly "diddled" of exam marks for non-academic reasons, and providing further incentive for institutions to pass marginal students so as to avoid arguments and possible Court cases.

One major manifestation of this academic "dumbing down", with exams being made much easier than previously, is "grade inflation", which gives recent graduates an unfair advantage when applying for jobs and entry to graduate courses, compared to older graduates. In fact, this recent "grade inflation" has become so rampant that I have had to routinely point it out to employers when applying for jobs.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
 Pages:  1  2

  Go To Top