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Microsoft Office Specialist

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by autismuk, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    A lot of places are doing Office Studies in practice, though :(
    I considered it myself once (I have an MCTS, the modern equivalent of MCSD), more for the Certified Traniner qualification that you get if you pass MOS and have QTS ; I have an old book for the 2003 version you can borrow if you want.
    TBH, I would think the level of accuracy required is probably beyond a lot of GCSE level pupils at Y11, let alone Y9. It's also very very Microsoft Office centric (unsurprisingly), this isn't necessarily a criticism but you end up teaching Ctrl-X F4 moves the Tabs rather than generic things.
    There are also questions of how much ; there are four or five packages and a couple of levels of each qualification. They aren't cheap, and they have to be taken at authorised testing centres.
    Microsoft also have serious concerns about their exams being too easy, and as such have seriously raised the bar ; the MCTS is much harder than the old MCAD for example. ; and about people drill and practicing the tests.
    I suspect most of those 'thinking' about it haven't really looked at it in depth.
  2. jweb2k

    jweb2k New commenter

    Agree with your concerns, I wonder if anyone else has thought about it or plumped for it and what your experiences are. One other worry is that Prodigy are the only suppliers of this course and course info, leaving the costs up to them once you're tied in and bought the pupil resources etc.
    I wonder whether the standard for the course is quite high though - considering MS want this qualification to be in all schools and schools will obviously only move to courses if the pass rate isn't ridiculously high for the majority (course suitability and all).
    Perhaps I need to look more at the content / SoW of the MOS and decide how worthwhile it is. OpenOffice should do a OOS.... [​IMG]
  3. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    Ah, now I'm a bit out of date here, so perhaps my words should be taken with a pinch of salt. I wasn't aware Microsoft were pushing MOS for schools :)
  4. Long before I retired I set up my old school as a Microsoft Academy( probably around 2003) and I completed all the (then) requirements for being able to teach MOS courses ( so I am now a Microsoft Office Master Specialist Instructor --for Office 2000!). At the time Microsoft were keen to get Local Academies going but I don't think much happened about it. Anyway we used this mainly for Sixth Form Additional Studies and for the courses we offered to the local community. Some of the staff completed all the requirements as well. Most of the sixth form students fell by the wayside and so did the adults unless they really needed a relevant MS qualification for their jobs. Also it was a bit of a nightmare dealing with Microsoft on the administrative side as well so I think the bloke who followed me dropped the whole thing.

    The ECDL courses were much more successful in take-up and in completion - at least for the adult classes. Unless the requirements have changed I wouldn't recommend following a Microsoft Office Specialist course for kids in Year 11 or younger. I don't know about current costs but it was fairly expensive as I remember to enter the exams.
  5. Umm, how would moving away from the OCR Nationals to this be in any way more "recognised" in the league tables?
  6. jweb2k

    jweb2k New commenter

    Indeed you're right.. these are Level 2 diploma/certificate and so despite saying "GCSE Grade B" on their literature they do have smallprint of equivalent points scores. The qualifications do seem to be recognised as much more worthwhile by industry though.
  7. Vendor quals could not replace Nationals as they would only be achieved by top sets, our less ability kids would not get thro' as they need 'someone on their shoulder'. Top sets should be doing GCSE (Computing my preference) perhaps with ECDL/other as an extra if a formal IT qual desired. MS quals I feel would be too expensive. Of course we will always require alternative (I hate the phrase GCSE equivalent) quals where GCSE would be too demanding. At least nationals satisfy(ish) this at present, my view is that the MS quals will not. A practical computer maintenance qual could perhaps engage some where the nationals fail to.
    Further, if we push non-academic IT quals too much, an easy cost-cutter by the head could be to farm them out to our local colleges who would deliver a lot cheaper with trainers rather than main scale teachers or worse employ them directly. There's enough concern over job security by ICT staff as it is without adding to it.

  8. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    Even that's optimistic. MS and others are very concerned about the devaluing of their certifications through various scams ; the difficulty rate is going up rapidly.
  9. First time poster and find this site very informative.
    However from experience of these programs it appears that Microsoft are looking at driving the costs down. Educational institutes can purchase a product that allows them to do as many exams as we want over a 12 month period. From what I have seen also that this would not replace the Nationals but more add to them, if you look at the syllabus for the Microsoft modules you will see that Nationals are covering a large % of the Microsoft requirements.
    I can't find it now, but there is case study video I saw recently for an academy in Wakefield which has introduced this in addition to the nationals and it seems to be a big success. Very much worth looking at as students relate to this quickly and it seems to improve the nationals results.
  10. jweb2k

    jweb2k New commenter

    I absolutely can't see the point in running MOS alongside Nationals - nor the need to improve Nationals results in general (aren't many schools getting 100% in it already hence the need for the 2010 update?)
    MOS aside iMedia perhaps, but why not just run OCR Nats for lower ability pupils and GCSE ICT/Computing for upper cohorts and save on the cost of an MS vendor qual?
  11. Hi @evilmonkey does your school still teach MOS. My school has just bought this in a I am shocked at the lack of age appropriate resoures. Could you tell me how your school implements this?

  12. I love the BBC series 'The men who make us spend'. Microsoft is sucking in idiot schools into thinking this is a great qualification with 'free' resources when in truth, this is a cynical marketing ploy to keep users hooked on their products for decades.

    To the noddies out there, for goodness sake wise up and start teaching generic office skills on a range of software. There are some good opportunities to do some comparing, evaluating and hitting the higher Blooms categories. There are great opportunities for using open source packages which even your poorest pupils can download and use for free at home. I can't believe that there are still teachers spewing out very naive views about 'industry standard' nonsense just to get a few free worksheets from MS.
  13. Yes, I can only agree with Spankyred, sorry, MyMouse, isn't it?

    Why would you want to teach kids Microsoft Office in schools when 99+% of business uses those products, I mean, it would only help kids' employment prospects and give them a competititve edge in a market of massive unemployment.

    We wouldn't want that would we?

    How those employers will be impressed when the young smarty pants comes in for interview and tells them that they should be packing in that Microsoft nonsense and going for some unreliable free c&*p that offers a 5th of the functionality and gives constant problems with compatibility.

    'What do you mean, no second interview - I achieved higher order Blooms in comparing WingWangWP 4 to CrapRiffOff 5 - who can resist that?'

    Why not go all the way and teach Computer Science? That way, they'll have absolutely no relevant skills for the market place and you won't be burdened with girls or people with normal personalities in your lessons.

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