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Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by misterroy, Aug 4, 2015.
43% to pass old maths at c, 34% to pass new maths at c.
Keeping up standards? I just read the BBC and it says that overall pass rate at Higher has gone up by 5.5%. It also says that the English higher pass rate has gone up by 17 %, Mod Langs by 15% and that Overall Advanced Higher pass rate up by 4%. Can all this be true? These seem to me to be huge increases yet they are reported by the BBC with no comment. Maybe someone who can count - I can't - could put these figures in context. I mean, is it normal to see a 17% rise in passes?
No, it's not normal to see a 17% rise in passes. Statstically it should vary (up and down) by a few percentage points year on year. What we're seeing here is a massive shift.
Someone is playing politics somewhere.
Probably to make CfE look good.
Maybe pupils are genuinely brighter?
Maybe teaching is significantly better than before?
Alternatively maybe the person in charge of putting additives into our water 16, 17 and 18 years ago mistook the K-Tel IQ booster for the fluoride container.
Final thought. In Higher Maths you can get double the questions wromg than you got right, and still pass!
Look at the grade boundaries.
average pass marks for new higher:
0.84 0.70 0.59 0.49 0.44
average pass marks for old higher
0.84 0.70 0.59 0.49 0.44
It has been clear to many teachers for many years that the SQA just cannot be trusted to run the Exam system in Scotland. All credibility has gone. We need an exam regulator, a MacOfQual, that can independently hold the SQA to account. When the SQA is faced with legitimate criticism their stock response is effectively to deny, and then batten down the hatches. That is totally unacceptable.
Accountability ultimately lies with the SNP led Scottish Government. They cannot dodge the issue any more. Numeracy and literacy are falling; CfE has been a disaster and is not fit for purpose; Scottish school children deserve better. These are important national issues. Without openness and accountability you get an exam system run by incompetents, administered by bullies and their school-based lackeys, and interfered with by politicos.
I've just been reading about English exam boards routinely recruiting non-teachers to mark papers. Ofqual does not seem a particularly effective organisation.
Well said, gnulinux.
At this rate Scottish education will soon be regarded worldwide as much as Scottish football is.
I abhor those colleagues who praise CfE to the rafters, they are selfish, fraudulent fuds that shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a school.
And exactly what is wrong with that??? Marking exam papers requires competence but over and above that there is no particular reason the activity should be a sort of 'closed shop'.
Those teachers who do 'take the SQA's shilling' often in my experience do it for the wrong reasons e.g. they say to get a better idea of standards - what they really mean is to gain an insiders advantage for their own pupils. There must be something intrinsically wrong with the system if you have to become a marker to find out about standards that all teachers should be made aware of by the SQA. Those teachers who do 'moonlight' for the SQA definitely take a them and us attitude relative to non-marking teachers. They will not share information with other teachers and some have in the past issued threats such as 'if you criticise the SQA in any way then you can expect a verification visit or similar'.
At least they have an exam board regulator. We have the SQA themselves whose only answer to criticism is to give everyone the V V V V V V V's
The difference between the grade boundaries for the two maths exams is a result of the removal of the multiple choice section and the setting of a much tougher non-calculator paper in its place. If you look at the component break down of average marks it becomes clear that this was the difference between the exams (the calculator paper, paper 2, was very similar and has very similar average marks). The overall outcome is that pass rate on the old exam was still slightly higher.
The headline figure of 17% increase in the English pass rate is inaccurate. That's not a rate, that's the increase in the number of passes. The proportion getting grade C or above increased from 75% to 79%, with the pass rate on the new course being higher. I would attribute the increased number of entries primarily to the narrowed subject choice of many pupils entering S5. In schools with 5 or 6 subjects in S4, and with the proportion getting N5 maths much lower than that getting N5 English, the pressure to choose Higher English if you need 5 Highers was likely to be very strong. Fluctuations in the number taking modern languages represent variation from a pretty low base.
There are questions to be asked, but I think a clear analysis of what we're looking at is needed first.
My big, and repeated from last year, question is why the proportion of the cohort getting N5 Maths is so much lower than that getting N5 English. Something is out of whack.
One extra thing: I'd hate to live in that parallel universe you inhabit, gnulinux, where SQA markers jealously hoard their secret knowledge and issue stasi-like threats to anyone who threatens their power.
Edit: never minf
Nat 5 English is difficult to fail. Far too easy, too easy to predict and not a test of any type of English skills at the upper levels.
Sadly what I have said about the threats is true and in that particular instance was witnessed by a number of others. Some of the teachers who 'moonlight' for the SQA revel in the 'power' that they imagine that brings to them. These are of course small-minded fantasists; the problem is that some of these abuse their position. However the SQA will be safe for the time-being while there are 'SQA-si' apologists like you around.
There are some pupils for whom a pass at N5 is a huge challenge.
These are not "credit" pupils though.
An A1 seems very hard to get.
What a load of utter **** gnulinux
I am no SQA apologist and they are definitely issues on accountability but how can you have people marking a course who have never taught it?
Lets get some plumbers marking Higher English.
Plumbers? I don't think the SQA can afford their rates!
As far as Music markers/performance examiners go, Gnunlinux is absolutely right about inside-knowledge. I did not believe it could be true but it sadly is. At the training meetings, small details are pointed out, but the classroom teacher never gets to know these details. For example, putting a musical "sign" in slightly the wrong place is marked wrong, whereas writing a musical word, with rubbish spelling but by using a huge stretch of the imagination, is marked right. The difference is the musical sign is marked by a machine, the musical word marked by a person. I know this sounds very generalised but it's true.
But why should we be surprised when (for example) a ML teacher in her 2nd year of teaching German, observes me and asks me what should she write in the "things to improve" section about the lesson I have just given? I know we can all learn and nobody is perfect, but please................when this is how we are treated i.e. experience not valued, evidencing/writing everything in triplicate so less time to prepare, no pay increase..............we know the rest. What a mess - I feel the start of 2015/16 depression starting already.
While a lot of the assessment stuff, particular verification of unit assessments, has been a total disaster, I haven't found those who've signed up to be verifiers anything less than helpful and forthcoming with whatever information they've got (which is often rather limited). Likewise I'll be sharing anything useful I've got from exam marking with my colleagues. I totally agree that there are bizarre, nit-picky absurdities in marking but my experience has been that teachers are desperately trying to make sure everyone knows as much as possible about them.
Yes, I shared any knowledge from SQA meetings (don't mark/examine anymore) and it is SQA who are to blame with their lack of clarity. I interpreted Gnu's words to be critical of SQA and not fellow teachers, think my interpretation was wrong, but I havn't come across any power hungry markers in my subject.