Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry is a prestigious association, which resulted from the coming together of four different organisations who could claim such scientific giants as Faraday, Rutherford, and Curie amongst their members. Nobel Prize Winner Prof Harold Kroto is its current President.

It isn't exactly renowned for wild announcements and the Government would be wise to pay attention to its claims...

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The quotation from the apparatchik, "it is unlikely that pupils from the 1960s could answer questions set today, given that the role of science in society has changed so much in the last 40 years." shows how little she knows about science.

How dare these ignorant people destroy Education.

Paul said...

She's probably right. However, this is because the science paper contains very little science and lots of bollocks propaganda about global warming.

A 1960s student would read the paper and think "what is this doing on a science paper ?". A 2008 student reading a 1960s paper would not be able to understand the questions.

Anonymous said...

Quote “also to be able to apply it to the science of climate change, stem research and understand how it impacts on and shapes the world we live in.”

What has this to do with science shouldn't this be covered by a different subject entirely?

Billy the Fish said...

Being a child of the '60s and reading the fatuous comment about it being 'unlikely that pupils from the 1960s could answer questions set today, given that the role of science in society has changed so much in the last 40 years', I decided to hunt online for an actual exam paper from the last year or two. I had a couple of hours to kill and no crossword this morning, so I thought I'd to see if I could indeed answer any of today's yard-sticks of scientific excellence. I found this site and downloaded two of their finest 'exams':

http://www.gcsesciencepastpapers.com/gcse-science-past-papers.htm

Even in my mid-Forties; my brain addled through parenthood, promotion and Pinot Noir, I - and I think the term is valid here - absolutely twatted the two papers I attempted.

Now here's a question for the spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families:

'How many years of cod-Socialistm does it take to remove twenty IQ points from an entire generation?'

Anyone else get the answer 'Twelve'?...

Dave H. said...

Thickie Mail readers even get a comparison question:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1089704/Experts-warn-catastrophic-drop-school-science-standards-exams-easier.html

(I was delighted to get the answer right for the earlier paper)

I hope the modern examples were the easy starter questions so that even a thickie kid could score something. If they were indicative of the paper as a whole, it's pathetic.

Quantum Boy said...

Experienced and qualified Physics teacher here! And I'd like to contribute. Last year I had the pleasure of teaching the new GCSE 'Applied Science' syllabus. Safe to say that due to the lack of scientific content, I believe it should be relabelled as simply 'GCSE Applied'.

Following this, and to show my disgust, I left 11-16 education, and now teach A level Physics in an post-16 college.

How shocked I was to be teaching A level students who, during their GCSE, had not been introduced to radioactivity, Newton's laws or even (and here's the shocker) electrical circuits...

Still, at least they know can list 5 reasons why Mrs Moriaty next door doesn't want a coal-fired power station on her doorstep.

sigh.

Kudos to Billy the Fish, throughly agree with your post, and chuckle in your general direction, too.

MarkUK MRSC said...

How could I disagree with my professional body? The RSC, as usual, is spot on the money.

My elder daughter did chemistry A-level about 7 years ago. Some of the concepts that were supposed to stretch her were considered easy meat when I did O-level.

Some more recent online tutoring has led me to believe that the mole is taught at a level that scarcely scratches the surface so that when the poor unfortunates have to calculate concentrations in titrations they are at a complete loss.

Having combined science at GCSE was a way of cutting three subjects (chemistry, physics and biology) down to two. Interdisciplinary work is great, but to do it properly you have to have at least one discipline first.

Please sign the petition. You can find it at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/examstandards/

Lilyofthefield said...

"Scientists said a lack of rigour in GCSEs - fuelled by a culture of "teaching to the test" - was destroying teenagers' problem-solving and thinking skills."
No shit, Sherlock.

For the 86754th time, you cannot apply the same curriculum, the same syllabi, the same teaching method and the same exams to 95% of the school population and expect the same results you got from the top 20% thirty years ago.

I can see a kind of noblesse oblige do-goodiness about it. I can understand that Them Up There might think (because they're thick, right?) that by attempting to give the same (and I use the term in its very loosest sense) education as the historical Grammar cohort enjoyed should mean they attain the same qualifications and life-chances, but how many times does it have to be demonstrated that THERE IS MORE TO IT THAN THAT?????

Kimpatsu said...

I've just signed the petition to which MarkUK MRSC redirects us, and I urge everyone to do the same.
It's not just science teaching; language teaching has also fallen by the wayside. When I wsa at school, Latin was compulsory. (Anyone who says it was the lingua franca in my day gets a thick ear...) Now it's an elective, having been replaced with touchy-feely subjects, rather than hardcore and demanding topics. I weep for our lost generation.

Billy the Fish said...

It's all very well subscribing to the wonderful Socialist ideal that every monkey deserves a banana, or in this instance, an 'A' grade, but where does that leave the nation in fifty years time?

All the thickies will now be running the show and dumbing things down even further lest the schoolkids of 2060 embarrass them, yet when a bridge collapses or the tube tunnels fall in, where's the next Brunel to be found? When a new strain of disease threatens to eradicate all the happy morons, where's the new Pasteur or Fleming? Sat in front of the holovision watching 'Big Brother 73', no doubt...

Once the oil runs out, i reckon we're looking at the next Dark Ages. Happily, I'll be long dead. Before I go though, I shall teach my grandchildren how angling a mirror in a tub of water refracts sunlight into a rainbow. This wizardry ought to be enough to earn them a crust in the Brave New World of the Stupid.

PS - I bet by then, somewhere in London, they will have erected a statue to Tony Blair...

Lilyofthefield said...

I am already embarrassed, Billy the Fish, by the mis-spelt, poorly-punctuated, ungrammatical drivel that is sent to me courtesy of Education Leeds. I have in the past marked it in red and sent it back but they know no shame. I have offered to proof-read their communications for nothing and been slapped down.

Kimpatsu, Latin cannot, and should not, be made compulsory for pupils who still struggle, at 15, to express themselves in plain written English, and nor should any other language, living or dead.

My father's generation mainly left school at 14, ignorant of Latin and calculus; but at least they could read, write and number to a level that made them functional employees. Never mind the joy of learning, the touchy-feely stuff, the terrible horror of a kid saying "This is boring" or "This is hard" (or more likely "This is fucking shit" or "This is gay"): train them, drill them, in skills that are for their ultimate longer-term benefit. The rest of it can come later for those who want it.

MarkUK BSc Hons. (Open) (First Class) MRSC MIFST said...

I disagree with Billy the Fish about our future being run by thickies. Just like now, we'll be run by people with a (borderline?) psychopathic disorder. (Several studies have shown that many senior managers, whatever the size of the organisation, show psychopathic tendencies. Some would definitely cross the line!)

It's not the cream floating to the top; it's the scum rising to the surface.

What we WILL have is poorly educated school leavers, all going on to become poorly educated graduates. If everyone can get a degree, does anyone want one?

Eliteism has been given a bad name. This is only fair if no provision is made for the less-than-elite. 3% of the population going to get an honours degree is much too low; 50% much too high.

BTW, I'll revert to my usual name oncce this ddebate is over!

Anonymous said...

I think that the engineers and the scientists will still be clever. It is the people IN CHARGE of the engineers and scientists who will be thick. So they will have to follow guidelines, submit protocols, adhere to occ health and safety directives, appoint according to seniority and diversity requirements and justify nay beg for their budgets in front of swollen committees with a fifth of their IQ and five times their self esteem.Hang on....

Pogo said...

Like "Billy the Fish",I also (as a result of a bet with a teacher friend) did a GCSE "Science" exam.

It took longer to download the papers than to do them. After downloading the marking scheme I had the honour of being awarded an "A*" by my, now somewhat chastened, friend. I will admit that I have a degree in physics from some 40 years ago, but feel that I would be somewhat daunted by the thought of re-doing "O Level" from the mid-60s!