A level results

Old Aug 27th 2011, 6:28 am
  #16  
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by auzdafluff View Post
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.
You're not going back far enough to get a meaningful comparison.

I'm 54 years old, and I can confidently state that my A-Levels were the toughest thing I have ever done, before or since. University? Walk in the park compared to my A-Levels. These days, there is more emphasis on 'reasoning', etc, but the syllabus simply doesn't contain as many challenging facts to make them worthwhile.

True story: a Physics question came up in 2007 that was exactly the same (including the exact wording) as an exam question in 1972. One other point to note: in 2007, it was a A-Level question, whereas in 1972 it had been an O-Level question............
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Old Aug 27th 2011, 9:36 am
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by auzdafluff View Post

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.
I'd agree with you 100% on this. Other than my maths teacher who challenged us more that the syllabus required, the rest was about passing the test. 1998 "standard grades" anyway.
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 8:47 am
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
You're not going back far enough to get a meaningful comparison.
But it is hard to make a meaningful comparison in many subjects.

I did A Levels in the 90s*. Did I find subjects being introduced at that level, that had only been O Level subjects in the past? Sure. But there was no group theory (for example) in those older papers. The range of subjects covered was much, much broader and that trend is increasing.

(*5 As and a C)
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 9:02 am
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Default Re: A level results

The rot set in when O-levels were scrapped. The GCSE was a combination of an O-level and the much easier CSEs, so had to be easier than O-levels for most people to pass them.

The whole system has done teenagers a disservice since then.
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 9:36 am
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by Hello.Kitty View Post

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.
It's not just the English who cannot articulate arguments. Few know how to debate or argue with any degree of consistency, logic or articulation.

You only have to look at the 'debates' that go on here to see that

N.
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 9:48 am
  #21  
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Default Re: A level results

Personally I think it's less the content of the exams but the exams being sat.

Last year, my old Grammar came no.1 in the country based on the English Bacca that's been devised - the staple parts of a rounded education. This was partly aimed at stopping expensive public schools from putting rich ****wits through a cooking GCSE to get good grades.

My A-Levels were in English Language, Economics, Law and Psychology. Aside from Psychology which is borderline, they are all proper subjects as far as I'm concerned.

My 6th Form College however, was full of people doing shite A-Levels; Media Studies, Sociology, Business Studies, Photography, Film Studies.

They all generate great results and passes because you curl something out your arse that warrants an A*.

Thats my thoughts anyway, less what's in the exam but more about what is being sat.
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 12:22 pm
  #22  
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by Meow View Post
The rot set in when O-levels were scrapped. The GCSE was a combination of an O-level and the much easier CSEs, so had to be easier than O-levels for most people to pass them.

The whole system has done teenagers a disservice since then.
Agreed, m'Lady, and could I also ask for the ludicrous "Course Work" to be taken into consideration?
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 4:04 pm
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by Scamp View Post
Personally I think it's less the content of the exams but the exams being sat.

Last year, my old Grammar came no.1 in the country based on the English Bacca that's been devised - the staple parts of a rounded education. This was partly aimed at stopping expensive public schools from putting rich ****wits through a cooking GCSE to get good grades.

My A-Levels were in English Language, Economics, Law and Psychology. Aside from Psychology which is borderline, they are all proper subjects as far as I'm concerned.

My 6th Form College however, was full of people doing shite A-Levels; Media Studies, Sociology, Business Studies, Photography, Film Studies.

They all generate great results and passes because you curl something out your arse that warrants an A*.

Thats my thoughts anyway, less what's in the exam but more about what is being sat.
I wouldn't describe photography and business studies as shite. Business Studies is essentially an MBA-lite in the sense that it gives people a basic understanding of many principles of modern business. To call it shite is to say MBAs are shite too.

As for photography, it's definitely not shite, but it is much more practical and hands on than most other A Levels. I didn't do it at A Level, but I would bet that there's a fair whack of theory in there.
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 4:13 pm
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by auzdafluff View Post
I wouldn't describe photography and business studies as shite. Business Studies is essentially an MBA-lite in the sense that it gives people a basic understanding of many principles of modern business. To call it shite is to say MBAs are shite too.

As for photography, it's definitely not shite, but it is much more practical and hands on than most other A Levels. I didn't do it at A Level, but I would bet that there's a fair whack of theory in there.
MBAs are shite...........

Remember: MBA = Means Bugger All
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
MBAs are shite...........

Remember: MBA = Means Bugger All
Dont say that please !!

I think MBAs do not teach you anything new if you have some good education and experience.

One of the key things i picked up from the MBA was the address list and opened a few doors to change careers
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 6:48 pm
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by The Dean View Post
MBAs are shite...........

Remember: MBA = Means Bugger All
I am with you 100% I put them in the same category as 'Life Degrees!' - Could not get a 'Real One!'

Last edited by jackthehat; Aug 28th 2011 at 6:55 pm. Reason: Addition
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Old Aug 28th 2011, 9:19 pm
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by jackthehat View Post
I am with you 100% I put them in the same category as 'Life Degrees!' - Could not get a 'Real One!'
And we all know what a Masters is.................

M.A.S.T.E.R.S. = Modest Achiever Still Trying the Educational Route to Success.
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Old Aug 29th 2011, 10:04 am
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by auzdafluff View Post
I wouldn't describe photography and business studies as shite. Business Studies is essentially an MBA-lite in the sense that it gives people a basic understanding of many principles of modern business. To call it shite is to say MBAs are shite too.

As for photography, it's definitely not shite, but it is much more practical and hands on than most other A Levels. I didn't do it at A Level, but I would bet that there's a fair whack of theory in there.
I'm sorry but I did a Business Studies GCSE and it was a farce, I could have spat on my exam paper and got the A*.

Photography as an A-Level? Sorry, but again that's a joke. If someone wants to be a photographer then great, but don't bother doing any other A-Levels. If someone wants a proper job, then do some proper A-Levels.
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Old Aug 29th 2011, 10:55 am
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Default Re: A level results

Scamp

Are you suggesting that being a photographer is not a proper job??
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Old Aug 29th 2011, 11:03 am
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Default Re: A level results

Originally Posted by Meow View Post
Scamp

Are you suggesting that being a photographer is not a proper job??
Not really, my mate is a photographer out here and just bums around doing the odd shoot and bits of editing.

It's a way to avoid the 9-5 / office job without having to work too hard.
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