A level results

Old Aug 19th 2011, 9:58 pm
  #1  
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Default A level results

Can someone explain to me how every year the UK has record A level results (and GCSE) yet many of the people i interview look blankly when i ask them simple probability questions ?
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: A level results

Simple, really. All the examinations have been made easier to pass.

Way, way back in the dark ages of the late 1970's when I was working for a large London Stock Exchange registered manufacturing company I couldn't believe the job applications I was getting. They'd be written (or scrawled) on foolscap (anybody remember that?) lined paper, paper torn off from a "reporter's" notebook or something similar, the spelling was simply dreadful and even then these applicants claimed to have degrees in engineering etc.

Nothing's changed.

Mind you, if you're asking them what the 'probability' is of the Dubai housing market improving then I wouldn't be surprised to be met with blank faces
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Old Aug 19th 2011, 11:23 pm
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by hnd View Post
Simple, really. All the examinations have been made easier to pass.
Im seriously thinking of trying to find out where i can get past A level papers from 1,2,5 and 10 years and comparing them to find out if thats true - its a reasonable assumption
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Old Aug 20th 2011, 9:13 pm
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Default Re: A level results

Checked 2 years worth of a level papers from OCR, advanced maths from 2008 and 2009 papers no qustions on probabilties - also def seem piss easy for 74 marks within 1.5 hours - perhaps i need to get a bigger sample of papers (or stop being obsessive about small things !!)
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Old Aug 20th 2011, 9:40 pm
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Default Re: A level results

whats the question - Whats the probability of bradford winning a match?
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Old Aug 21st 2011, 12:05 am
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by UKCityGent View Post
Checked 2 years worth of a level papers from OCR, advanced maths from 2008 and 2009 papers no qustions on probabilties - also def seem piss easy for 74 marks within 1.5 hours - perhaps i need to get a bigger sample of papers (or stop being obsessive about small things !!)
Maths, there's Pure, Applied and Statistics, if you didn't read the Statistics paper, there wouldn't be anything on probability.

I don't think the questions are getting easier, they're just different. More emphasis on essays through out the course and a combination of thinking the problems out rather than relying on a photographic memory and just remembering dates.
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Old Aug 21st 2011, 8:31 am
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Default Re: A level results

I did maths a level- about 16 years ago now and I must say I didnt understand a bloody thing on it. I still managed to pass it though- and I got a D- I literally missed at least half the lessons and those that I went to I may as well have gone to a spanish lesson as I understood about the same ammount as if they were speaking spanish- and I passed! I did cram revision in though. I can't even spell trigowotsit anymore let alone do any of it!

Shoud i have passed- absolutely not and I have no idea how I did. Bloody failed art though- tell me how do you fail art
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Old Aug 21st 2011, 8:57 am
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Default Re: A level results

Have the times gone down for A Levels?
I remember my exams lasting at least 2 hours and art was four, 3 hour stints of painting at an easel and a written project.
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Old Aug 21st 2011, 12:10 pm
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Default Re: A level results

On the premise that the young people I meet are no brighter than those of 20 years ago and that these days so many struggle with good written English, I can only conclude that the exams are easier.
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Old Aug 21st 2011, 12:43 pm
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Default Re: A level results

My husband's knowledge of the English grammar is simply shocking, I'm not talking about knowing what the saxon genitive is but what a verb/adjective etc...are....oh my, and he's from Oxford! He claims the school never taught grammar. It's enough to say that my written English as a non native is better than his!
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Old Aug 21st 2011, 2:12 pm
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by alitrist View Post
My husband's knowledge of the English grammar is simply shocking, I'm not talking about knowing what the saxon genitive is but what a verb/adjective etc...are....oh my, and he's from Oxford! He claims the school never taught grammar. It's enough to say that my written English as a non native is better than his!
no, at the time I was in school in the UK, they didn't teach grammar - in reality, English grammar is so full of irregularities that the "rules" are rather academic! Made a bit of a change from France where you only got to write an essay in 6th form - most of secondary was either dictations, pure grammar or literary study. Saying that, French education does/ did take the stance - that I find quite right - that you actually don't have to knowledge and experience to write a meaningful essay until you've learnt about the subject (and how to write an essay properly).

What I can't get over is the way English people (gross generalisation) often don't know how to put together and articulate an argument - nothing's clear, there's no progression or conclusion and they have only a very loose understanding of punctuation and paragraphs. Even some of the allegedly published academic stuff I'm forced to endure is quite frankly rubbish... worse than rubbish.

Anyhow, back to English exams getting easier. I decided to take a GCSE in Italian a few years ago. I got an A* - I can understand it, can write it by adding random "o"s and "a"s onto the French word and actually can't string a sentence together to speak it. Mr Kitty (who's fluent in Italian) thinks it's hilarious... so do I really.
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Old Aug 21st 2011, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: A level results

UK A level exams are definitely dumbed down. A few of my friends cracked C and D grades at A level maths and physics in a former colony in Africa, where we wrote the Cambridge International Exams, only to pass with A*/A 6 months later after travelling to the UK to write the "same" level exams.

For my first job interview in the UK after leaving the "dark" continent, I was asked to answer a series of mathematical problems (fairly basic mind you - stats & algebra). Well I answered correctly on all of them. When I asked how other candidates performed, I was told that I was the only one to answer all correctly - and to show working out.

Regarding A level probability questions. I remember covering probability for my O levels - probably early Form 4 if my memory serves me correctly.

This is a sample paper O level paper not too dissimilar from what I wrote in 1989 - and knowledge of probability is tested here.

http://www.cambridgestudents.org.uk/...4_s03_qp_2.pdf

See how many you can tackle now .

Also I'm pretty sure for paper 1 (there were 2 papers) you weren't allowed to use a calculator.
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Old Aug 22nd 2011, 12:30 am
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by RDP80 View Post

This is a sample paper O level paper not too dissimilar from what I wrote in 1989 - and knowledge of probability is tested here.

See how many you can tackle now .

Also I'm pretty sure for paper 1 (there were 2 papers) you weren't allowed to use a calculator.
Double eek = i had a scan of it and could feel the pressure of exams like a farty 16yr old again !!

Its a shame we are underselling our kids nowadays - bring back the birch, cold showers and PT in the snow
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Old Aug 25th 2011, 8:53 pm
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Default Re: A level results

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-14660547

Says it all really !!
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Old Aug 26th 2011, 6:43 am
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Default Re: A level results

They haven't been dumbed down. The tests themselves are still as difficult as they always where.

What HAS happened from my own personal experience, as well as those of my friend's siblings who recently took them, through to those who sat them many years ago, is the way we were taught our A level, and indeed GCSE subjects.

I – and everyone younger than myself, as well as some a little older – have been taught in a way that emphasises how to pass the test. Not to understand why things are happening, but how to figure out the patterns and use those patterns to get the question right.

They know what the right answer is, how to work out the right answer, but they have no idea WHY it is the right answer.

That's why when you take them out of that setting, they have no idea.

For example, I got an A, A, A, B, and E (Geography, English, Business Studies, Music Technology, and Law – though I was surprised to pass Law at all to be honest) at A Level (2003).

Yet despite getting an A in English, I didn't actually learn, and therefore understand, how grammar actually works until my first full-time job in the media (i.e. not freelancing).

And it's not just the fault of Labour and its league tables, though they did exacerbate the problem. No, the root of the problem lies with universities and employers who demand certain grades to qualify for whatever they are offering (university course, or graduate course etc).

It's the emphasis on grades, rather than the understanding of the subjects, that has led to today's problems.
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