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science gcse dumbed down again

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paulthebuilder
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2009/07/18 20:54:50 (permalink)

science gcse dumbed down again

Teenagers need only a grasp of grammar and no scientific knowledge to answer GCSE science questions correctly, a report suggests today.
It says that the right answers to multiple-choice questions are obvious because they are often the only ones that make grammatical sense.
The report is by Science Community Representing Education (Score), which speaks on behalf of organisations including the Royal Society, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Science Council.
A panel of experts reviewed recent changes to GCSE science examinations. It analysed 79 exam papers.
The report said that some of the range of answers deemed allowable in marking schemes were not correct.
It noted the widespread use of multiple-choice questions, saying: “There were substantial variations between awarding bodies, with some specifications having as few as 2 per cent or 9 per cent of marks available through extended response questions on structured papers.
“This is of importance, as extended response questions provide an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate the full extent of their understanding and ability in a deeper sense than is possible in multiple choice or short-response questions.”
It added: “There were a few instances where knowledge of science was not needed to answer some parts of some questions.
“Of particular concern were questions which appeared to be general knowledge.
“A related finding was that some multiple-choice questions had poorly constructed, incorrect answers. In some cases, only the correct answer made grammatical sense and therefore the incorrect answers were unlikely to be selected by the student, simply on the basis of grammar.”
Sir Alan Wilson, chairman of Score, said: “Science is a quantitative subject yet the amount of maths in the exams varied widely and was generally woefully inadequate. While these general knowledge questions were not widespread, it is astonishing that there are any examples.
“The failings outlined in the report must now be addressed as we cannot afford to fail the young people who are working so hard to get their science qualifications.”
Peter Main, director of education and science at the Institute of Physics, said: “Currently, it appears that there is insufficient use of mathematics, the language of science, and that some of the questions do not even require a knowledge of science at all.

Source: http://www.timesonline....ation/article6715196.ece
#1

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    westbelfastguy
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/18 20:57:35 (permalink)
    We'll have real life homer simpson's running nuclear power plants before we know it then
    #2
    Yohimbe
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/18 21:20:29 (permalink)
    All true.  Box ticking is now what education is all about.

    The only CHEAP way to continually improve standards is to dumb down exams.

    I am continually discouraged from talking i.e. teaching for more than 5 minutes per hour lesson.  In fact, Ofsted can and do fail teachers who spend too much time trying to teach. 
    #3
    FatboyGinger
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/18 21:24:33 (permalink)
    Totally agree.
    I sat three science GCSEs last year, they were so easy it was almost funny.


    "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true."
    #4
    don marcos
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/18 23:45:36 (permalink)
    Unofortunately its true although the OCR curriculum will be tougher next year. Its hard to believe how basic GCSE exams are and still hard to believe how tough kids find them.
    #5
    lilbigman
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 00:11:44 (permalink)
    A stupid movie, but a look into the possible future - Idiocracy. That, or you could watch Wall-E with all the fat retards in a ship.

    It's hard to fix this problem correctly, but reducing the level is ridiculous. We could throw in all of these as factors as to why more kids are complete idiots: 'gang' culture, lack of discipline, the above of reducing the level of exams, bad parenting, bad teaching methods. I believe they all play their part and become one, huge problem. There are probably more factors which I haven't mentioned.



    Lead guitarist and vocals of a one man band...
    #6
    Sheeps_Clothing
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 01:08:18 (permalink)
    I honestly think that kids should be getting straight A/A* on these exams. The fact that alot do not suggest that not all the exams are easy or kids are just lazy.

    A-Levels are going the same way- getting three A's is no longer a discriminator, in fact a whole load of uni's demand 3 A's to get in to certain courses.

    If I had kids, and could afford it, I would probs go down the IB route.
    #7
    Reborn
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 01:16:43 (permalink)
    State sponsered dumbing down of everything educational.

    Pass rates are up = Better schools apparently

    Everybody going to university = less unemployed

    Pah, I cant post anymore without being totally political, except one thing I cant believe anyone falls for the propoganda from this outfit anymore.

    My username has nothing to do with my religious beliefs.....
    #8
    kitty
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 06:46:40 (permalink)
    My old science teacher would be doing her nut in!! She always used to advise to choose the sciences as you'd be able to apply yourself to most things and would have more opportunities for work.

    I was talking to a friends daughter one day about her options for GCSE and I asked her if she was doing biology....."what's that?" she asked. Biology, physics and chemistry didn't exist as separate subjects, it was purely "general science"
    #9
    Yohimbe
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 07:03:03 (permalink)
    I remember 1 year ago ALL my students failing to answer a question.  Not because I hadn't covered the material with them, but because it was more a general knowledge question featuring a word they didn't know.  Their ignorance of language let them down.  Now half the class could be excused (they were Gurkha daughters with very poor English), but the other half had no excuse other than ignorance. 

    A whole generation of new teachers has been made to teach (including me) in a way that alarms me.  When you train to be a teacher, you really ARE taught to keep all talking/all teaching to a minimum.  The goal is to get the children occupied asap and so not to talk or teach more than this goal requires.  Oftsed will fail any lesson where a child is unoccupied (i.e. messing about or distracted) or any teacher who dares to lecture or instruct children for more than a few mins.  The reality is though, that any school scoring less than 50% 5A* to C will have plenty of lessons where 10-15 minutes or more is just spent dealing with confrontation i.e. poor pupil behavior.  Oftsed don't see reality, they see what the queen sees - a distorted painted view of reality.

    The baby and the bathwater?  I remember chalk n talk at school.  It might not always have gone in, but whole lessons writing improved our grammar, handwriting, and resolve.

    Some of you might be surprised if you were to watch your children at school.  Behavior is off the wall and the denial regarding this is staggering.  Education is dumbed down to accommodate.

    Me, I've had enough.  Too much work, too little pay.  You can't train, you're always tired...   40% of our teachers according to the GTC quit within 2 years of qualifying.  Name me one other job that features as much confrontation?  There isn't one. 
    post edited by Yohimbe - 2009/07/19 07:08:21
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    kitty
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 07:21:34 (permalink)
    That doesn't sound good Yohimbe. You've always come across to me that you love the job and this is the first time I've known you be negative about it. If this is the way things are going, we may as well let kids stay home and self teach!!
    #11
    Yohimbe
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 07:44:12 (permalink)
    I do love the job, but it isn't doing my health any favors.

    I've gone on cycle just to get through a term; no weight training at all.  In most schools (certainly all those with a GCSE figure of 50% 5*A to C or less) you suffer abuse everyday, from children mostly, but also from managers (i.e. deputy heads).  You have great days and lessons, but the bad ones grind you down.  Kids turn up without pens, pencils, make rude comments, and even false accusations, they can't or don't want to concentrate, kids intent on disruption and confrontation...   I wonder how long Righty will last.  Cos here I am 4 years later wondering what my options are, I hope I have got some.  The only respite are the holidays.
    post edited by Yohimbe - 2009/07/19 07:53:48
    #12
    kitty
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 07:54:54 (permalink)
    Urgh. I know for a fact I'd be sacked due to man handling one of the kids!! I have visions of me grabbing one of them by the throat
    #13
    Yohimbe
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 08:35:28 (permalink)
    State comprehensive schooling is a failed system; no longer fit for purpose.  A lot of our kids are no longer fit for any purpose either..  2 or 3 generations of kids have been brought up in a society increasingly divided and lacking in hope.
    #14
    don marcos
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 09:22:41 (permalink)
    I agree with most of what Yohimbe saya on this thread apart from the last post which borders on melodrama.
    #15
    JK2
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 09:30:27 (permalink)
    kitty

    That doesn't sound good Yohimbe. You've always come across to me that you love the job and this is the first time I've known you be negative about it.


    It's sad to see someone usually so vital, upbeat and optimistic become slightly jaded like this.

    Anyway, the problem of multiple choice questions extends beyond secondary education. Medical schools love multiple choice exams. They also love devising and implementing new, contorted forms of multiple choice question like the EMQ (extended matching question) where candidates must select the best-fit answer from a list. Unfortunately they're only good for testing discrete, factual knowledge. Try to use them for anything more sophisticated and the format fails since the correct answer is aligned with a load of red herrings and really any dullard can spot the linguistic or grammatical pathway to the right choice.

    #16
    CheekyChappie
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 09:51:54 (permalink)
    The thing that strikes me about kids these days is that they don't have the same respect for authority anymore (generalisation of course). Now some might say this isn't a good thing but when I grew up I, and the kids in my class, followed the rules and did what teacher said (for the most part, all kids can mess around occasionally). You understood that they were in charge and you didn't challenge their authority any more than you would challenge that of your parents.

    More kids now seem to have inflated egos and a lack of respect for authority such that you can't make them do anything. Some could say this self-confidence is a good thing, but clearly it's not when it comes to education. Whilst kids may think they have the world sussed and no-one can tell them what to do, they don't and it becomes a problem if you can't get them to learn.

    I wonder where this change in attitudes has come from. I suspect it's from softer parenting styles. Unfortunately I think my natural tendency will be to try to be like a 'mate' to my children but I think this would be a mistake and that a certain amount of discipline is needed. Too many kids now are being brought up to be able to do and say what they like with no authority to answer to. All IMO. I don't have data to back this up before anyone asks!
    #17
    Yohimbe
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 10:27:27 (permalink)
    don marcos

    I agree with most of what Yohimbe saya on this thread apart from the last post which borders on melodrama.


    No of course.  Melodrama you say.  Rich are getting richer, we're more unequal than we've ever been, wars for lies, stressed parents, broken families, fragmented societies, limited opportunities, anything goes, even games where you shag prozzies and shoot cops........  

    Nah, society is fine.  What a great life we have.
    #18
    Luckystrike
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 10:49:33 (permalink)
    Me, I've had enough.  Too much work, too little pay.  You can't train, you're always tired...   40% of our teachers according to the GTC quit within 2 years of qualifying.  Name me one other job that features as much confrontation?  There isn't one. 

     
    My GF is a new teacher (about 18 months in the job) and most days she absolutely hates it.  Some of the stories she tells me about what the pupils do are absolutely ridiculous and I can hardly believe what it is like compared to when I went there a mere 10 years ago.
     
    Next term she has a new job teaching science rather than maths (she trained in science) so hopefully she will find it better but I suspect she'll be looking for a new career as the school are very, very slack at discipline and this is what she dislikes most.
     
    I'll ask her about GCSE's but she may not know as she teaches 11-13 (i think).
    #19
    paulthebuilder
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    Re:science gcse dumbed down again 2009/07/19 10:54:30 (permalink)
    Yohimbe

    I wonder how long Righty will last.

    That is under review by me mate.
    Is your PM on?
    #20
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