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Lower Still

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by gnulinux, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter

    While England seem to have grasped the nettle of exam standards, the emerging Scottish N6 exams appear to be continuing along the dumbing-down route. England is making the GCSEs harder and now the content and standards of the A level may be taken away from the exam boards and given to the universities. The universities want A-levels to be more intellectually stretching and with less spoon-feeding from teachers.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17595345

    Imagine the outcry if a similar system was put in place in Scotland. Of course, it is highly unlikely as a) the SQA is a law unto itself with no equivalent to Ofqual to ensure standards are maintained and b) MR is not likely to set CfE up to fail by keeping the existing Higher standards as they are. By allowing the Higher to dumb down, the SQA is preparing for ever-improving exam results in 2015-16, thereby vindicating the CfE experiment.
     
  2. I think you are misguided in hailing either the mish mash of exam boards (hence the need for ofqual) or Gove's desire to let universities plan A levels as a path to follow.
     
  3. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    One of the reasons for my concern re CfE implementation is the impact on the Higher. Currently, people are focused on the current S2 when they reach S4. We should be even more concerned about the exams they sit in S5. You may recall that CfE was supposed to leave Higher as the "gold standard". Not in my subject, where the "old" Higher has already been changed significantly and IMHO now provides a suitably challenging exam for able pupils. Not any more if the proposals I've seen are put into effect. So some schools will not only be reducing the number of Highers kids can sit (if they leave course choice until S4) but the quality of those they do sit will be devalued.

    Parents should be very concerned but the focus on S2 / S3 is camouflaging some very dangerous changes.
     
  4. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter

    Some schools have, already, effectively got rid of subjects, Computing being a prime example. Faculties were created, we were told, as an essential vehicle for the delivery of CfE - that was a blatant lie of course. Where Computing was Fac'ed with Bus St, in a number of cases that I know of, Computing has been edited out of the picture. In the 3+3 model, that will increasingly be the case for other minority subjects. Hence the range of Highers that pupils will be able to take will necessarily be reduced. That process has already begun covertly (for the 3+3) schools. The heads of those schools do not of course have the guts to admit that publicly but we have known for some time what they were up to.
     
  5. Revised Higher History essay was 25 marks; then reduced to 20 marks; now under threat in the draft document. Two exam papers are now reduced to one with 25 minutes reduction in time. The Extended Essay is currently the end point of research on an issue and written up in two hours. The CfE Higher version will be 1 hour 30 minutes. Not so much the gold standard - more like the euro standard. All the draft document have a "Work in progress" stamp on them - you bet!
     
  6. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    My niece in S2 in Angus has been told she can choose 6 subjects to study from S3 onwards and her parents have been told (by school) they don't know what exams if any she will be sitting in the future. They are very concerned but, as ordinary parents, what can they do?
    My subject "draft" proposes reducing the only wriitten element at Higher to 20% of overall, so a fair-middling pupil could not bother turning up for that exam and still gat a B.
     
  7. Who is planning the new Highers in Scotland? Were you consulted about the need for change? Are the new specifications of equal standard to the present Highers? Is there an independent body in Scotland to verify that standards are being maintained or even made more challenging? No. We have to trust the SQA to quality assure itself. Can schools be trusted to quality assure themselves alone? No. So why the SQA?

    At least England has a choice of exam boards (why the use of ?mish mash? I have no idea?) Competition with strong regulation can work. Here the only schools that can opt out of the SQA?s qualifications suite are private ? the rest of us are stuck. So having a sole examination body is a good idea?

    Also, if you have a spare 45 minutes, have a look at the first part of this:

    http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=10561

    We need a Scottish version of this if we are to avoid fiasco 2.0
     
  8. I understand that, but that's not the same as saying kids will be sitting less highers. They will still be able to sit 5 highers. Unless Dominie knows of schools that are only offering 4 or 3?
     
  9. Because it's not competition with strong regulation. It's competition where schools choose the "easiest" board and, as the boards want the money, markers' meetings end up as hints as to what's in the exam paper that year. Chopping and changing between boards to the one seen as the most advantageous means that teachers are often teaching different courses and skills from one year to the next too. Mish mash seems perfectly appropriate.
     
  10. Ofqual powers:

    "Following the passing of the Education Act 2011, we are today (Monday 9th January 2012) launching a public consultation regarding how we should use our additional powers, including the power to fine exam boards. These powers will make us a stronger regulator, and in particular make it easier for us to secure standards."


    http://www.ofqual.gov.uk/news-and-announcements/130-news-and-announcements-press-releases/838-ofqual-launches-consultation-into-how-it-should-use-its-new-powers-

    There are no equivalent powers either to fine or secure standards regarding the SQA. Maybe you think the SQA is perfect in every way?
     
  11. Certainly the school I am at is removing several subjects from the option choices, The reason for this is that they want classes up at 30 to free up teachers' timetables so they are always available for 'please' takes. Covering the classes of ill and skiving teachers takes precedence over personalisation and choice components of the curriculum especially now since COSLA's actions have decimated the supply pool.
     
  12. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter


    Is the school going down the 3+3 route as a matter of interest??

     
  13. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    SQA
    kind of
    not in my subject
     
  14. And
    And where did you gain this information?
     
  15. gnulinux

    gnulinux Occasional commenter

    "And where did you gain this information?"



    Don't waste your time with TROLLS! No bona fide teacher would post in excess of 42000 times in these forums. I would like to know who is paying these to derail legitimate debate.

     
  16. Technically, if you don't have someone posting contrary views then you don't really have a debate.
     
  17. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    [​IMG] Blimey, gnulinux . . . . .what on earth has got into you!
    My post count is high because I spend a ridiculous amount of time on TES, playing word games with other posters (who have even higher post counts than me). It doesn't take long to rack up a huge post count when so many posts can be one word answers. Logic actually dictates, if you think about it, that posters with very high post counts are less likely to be trolls . . . .trolls tend to get sniffed out very early in their trolling career, reported by other users and banned by TES, forcing them to create new user names and start their post counts from scratch again and again.


     
  18. Some of it is simply from reading what English teachers (as in teachers teaching in England) say on the main Opinion and subject forums here. The bit about boards telling teachers what is in the exam comes from a Telegraph investigation late last year. If you look at this link http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/secondaryeducation/8943954/Exam-chief-you-dont-have-to-teach-a-lot-for-our-tests.html you will see one exam board competing by suggesting their exam is easy and on the same page there are links to various similar stories. If you google you will find similar information from different sources. Yes, Ofqual are attempting to deal with the situation but they seem to be struggling to catch people in the act and its hard for them to apply sanction which might hurt thousands of pupils more than the exam board. The SQA are not perfect but there has been some consultation on the qualifications - they have seemed desperate for input from teachers at times regarding the Nats - and they are free at least from the kind of pressure that competition brings.
     
  19. People pay you to post? Wow, I've been missing a trick!
     
  20. On your point about where I get my information ? what a strange question! In the very few posts I have made here, I have provided multiple links to evidence ? unusual in the Opinion Forum. Are you reading any of them?

    As for English schools choosing the exam board setting the easiest exams, this is about to become history. Read the BBC News article headed: ?GCSEs in four key subjects to be made tougher?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17152912

    One of the subjects to be made tougher is History at GCSE. The A levels are about to become tougher too. My point is that strong regulation via Ofqual can reverse the competitive watering down of standards. In Scotland, we have had watering down of standards for decades yet we only have one examinations body with no regulator. Compare and contrast. Higher History is set to be dumbed down in 2015-16. Let?s have an independent Scottish regulator to ensure that exam standards are either maintained or raised.

    Now, what about your subject at Higher? Is the new Higher going to be easier or harder?
     

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