Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Right and Wrong

The picture in this article shows a lesson typical of many that I taught. The kids are working quietly and industriously, whilst the teacher is fast asleep with their mouth open.

The accompanying article is pretty shocking and is consistent with a few other stories I've got about these exams. (You'll have to wait for my next book to hear them). I love the way the QCA spokesman justifies this fiasco by saying that it's to help the children who are aren't as good at Science. Well what better way to help them understand the mysteries of the Universe than by marking all their answers correct.

To be honest, I've never understood why there isn't a mass boycott of SATS by the parents. I suppose it's just apathy, fear of the consequences (absolutely none) or lack of someone to start one off. If I had kids I'd take them away on holiday for the exams. You can get some great deals that week...


cartermagna said...

"In this year's test, 71 per cent of 14-year-olds reached the level expected of their age group."

That's still a very poor pass rate wouldn't you say?

Mark H Wilkinson said...

In a question which asked what organs a riding hat protects, the answer "skull" was accepted as correct - even though the skull is not an organ.

Nonsense. Each bone in the human body is an organ -- this is elementary anatomy. What was the "correct" answer here: the brain? Well, yes, a riding hat would protect the brain. Part of that protection would be afforded by not allowing the skull to be smashed in when being kicked in the head by a horse, for example.

I'd be tempted to sneer at the Telegraph over this, assuming it to be their error. But I see the Royal Society of Chemistry's Richard Pike and his mouth are involved again -- I recall last year's attempt to instill panic about the state of British mathematics education by pointing out that Chinese students tackle much harder geometry problems, glossing over the fact that, while geometry is stressed in the Chinese syllabus, calculus is given less weight. Guess which country sets harder calculus problems?

BTW, I'm not trying to suggest that all things are wonderful in the state of British education. My aim, in fact, is far less ambitious -- it is to point out that Pike's a witless twat who'll jump on any bandwagon to have a go, assuming he's not already driving the fucker.

Mark H Wilkinson said...

And I'm honour bound to point out that technically the skull is two organs: cranium and mandible.

Can I have the point anyway?

Anonymous said...

"What organs does a riding hat protect?" - from what? If the threat is olive stones at terminal velocity from high-flying hot-air ballonists having a picnic I'd guess the answer would be "most of them". Enraged Jack Russell terriers? - none of them.
Now "what organs is a riding hat intended to protect?" would be different matter.

Are you sure that teacher's asleep and not just saying, "What are you doing at the back?"

Anonymous said...

Oh the joys of our education system. It is totally f**ked up and it's high time we said so.

Answer, scrap the stupid national curriculum, scrap league tables, scrap performance related pay, which just puts far too much pressure on teachers to ensure that even the total thickos pass, otherwise they don't get their bonus.

Get rid of all the bloody interference from government and above all give teachers their professional autonomy back. Let them decide what and how they want to teach, like we did pre 1970s.

Above all get rid of this one size fits all education system, one size doesn't fit all, we need a modernised version of the tri-part system reintroduced.

Give teachers back the power to teach, that is the answer, and we need to go back to being able to call a spade a spade and a thick kid a thick kid.

Anonymous said...

Better still, Frank - why don't the heads boycott the SATS?

Anonymous said...

Serious question: if a parent did boycott the SATs and kept their child out of school on the day/s they were being held, what would the real-world consequences ACTUALLY be?

jeanfromcornwall said...

Observe the words on the board - this is not a teacher taking a lesson - this is not necessarily a teacher, but is somebody invigilating an exam.

Anonymous said...

I could never understand why kids with dyslexia are allowed help in the English Language exam as they were when I was at school... I mean the whole point is to test your ability in the subject!! I was always rubbish at maths (to the point where as soon as I see a set of numbers my head goes dizzy), but strangely enough the school didn't think I should be allowed somebody to sit next to me and do all the sums for me.

What's the difference between this and helping a kid who isn't very good at science (except that one has a very general tag that could refer to a hundred different 'disorders' and the other doesn't).