GCSE's to be replaced by Diploma
Posted 18 October 2004 - 10:05 AM
Reforms to GSCEs in the pipeline.
The exams could be replaced by a Diploma and Vocational Qualifications such as Hairdressing NVQs.
What do you think?
I find it hard to believe that 16 year olds are leaving school and are unable to read or write to a basic standard - what the hell is going on?
Posted 18 October 2004 - 10:57 AM
what the hell that is going on is that there is very little discipline left in schools; teachers, as good as they may be at actual teaching, have their hands tied by all this politically correct bullpoop where-by there are no real consequences for pupils being disruptive. they are in a minority, but can disrupt an entire lesson to the extent that it is virtually wasted.
at my school we all had a green log book we had to fill in every lesson and in which teachers could write if we had been badly behaved or otherwise disruptive. if you managed to get yourself suspended or we're consistently a pain in the backside you got a yellow one, or if you were really naughty you got a red one. ooh! the idea was that the books should be signed each week by a parent so they knew what their little darlings were getting upto, in practice, however, the ones who needed to know didn't give a monkeys.
there was also the 'remove room' where anyone being particularly disruptive was segregated from everyone else and had to sit in silence for the rest of the day. however there was never enough room for everyone who needed to be in there.
the last resort was expulsion, but the governors didn't like that so introduced behaviour contracts as an alternative for the majority of cases. this involved a hearing in front of the governors and the head teacher with your parents, a contract was signed by the pupil and parents, and then totally ignored. what a farce.
someone also had the bright idea that behaviour was somehow linked to ability so introduced streaming in all subjects, aka 'sets'. this just led to everyone in the lower sets suffering due to the high concentration of muppets, and everyone else suffering because formerly non-muppets spotted the vacancy for class muppet and did quite a good job of filling the gap. so we were worse off than ever.
the lower sets did a subject called, i believe, 'life skills' so the school could assure themselves that everyone would get at least one pass. this was taught by a special needs teacher, not that the vast majority of them had any special needs other than a clip around the lughole. the subject taught very basic literacy and numeracy, designed to help them do better in the mainstream maths, english, and science lessons, as well as other things such as, for some reason, gardening. i'm sure you won't be suprised to learn that at least one pupil in my year, that i know of, failed to get a single pass mark, despite hours of individual tuition from teachers desparate to help him out. he just didn't want to work and they couldn't make him.
i've got no problem with school kids doing vocational qualifications, we were part of a pilot scheme whereby you could choose to drop two GCSE subjects and do an NVQ catering course at the local college instead. apparently it was quite successful. i too, however, am completely stunned that people should think they can really do much at all without being able to read or write.
hope you'll all forgive my rant, this stuff really annoys me. i saw so many, too many, of my fellow pupils, the majority of whom weren't "thick" or "stupid", completely waste the entire 5 years they were at high school because they wanted to fit in with the tiny majority of drug-addicted, small-minded, disruptive wastes of space. i think most of them could have done much better if the disruptive influences were removed completely and everyone else knew there would be severe consequence if they played up. there's nothing wrong with the GCSEs themselves.
Posted 18 October 2004 - 11:38 AM
I also like the fact that those at the bottom end of the scale (through no fault of their own in many cases) will now get recognition for what they can do, rather than just a 'U' or 'F' for several subjects they had little chance of suceeding at in the first place.
Am a little frustrated that kids leave school unable to read or write, but then if they are not going to school in the first place I can't se how they can learn. Why are we not sticking more parents in jail for this, as far as I am concerned not forcing your kid to school is a crime.
Posted 18 October 2004 - 12:10 PM
Posted 18 October 2004 - 12:42 PM
There is the argument that failure is seen as bad, ergo, everyone needs to pass. Rot. Everyone needs something to aspire to, and failure is a way of life. We can't be cushioned or protected against failure; it's impossible and it's wrong to try. By making sure everyone passes, the overall achievement is debased and valueless - and what do the Government do? Why, introduce another exam which is unnecessary since we had all that in CSE, GCE and on to degrees.
So what's gone wrong? Whose fault is it? Where do you start! It starts, of course, from childhood - like a post above, I was reading and writing by the age of 5 because my parents (mum especially) was constantly reading me stories and encouraging me to write letters to my Naval father. A few parents then, as far, far too many now, sat back and expected the school to do everything - from teaching them how to use cutlery to road safety.
The answer lies in parents' hands I'm afraid. It is a partnership between them and (Heaven forbid) their own children (I can hear gasps of horror even now) BUT it is up to the Government to supply good quality teaching. We have all heard about parents queuing up and registering for 'good schools': doesn't every child deserve a good school? Why should child A, be lucky to be at a good school when child B, who has the same rights and deserves the same chances, be consigned to a 'bad school'? Is it right then, that 'good schools' can attract better teachers with the lure of better money whilst other schools are left to fail? How can that be acceptable? Granted, by its nature some schools will be better than others, always has been, always will be - the same as any aspect of human life. But it can't be right that good schools are seen to be promoted and encouraged ahead of those that aren't so good.
Children need to be encouraged to learn: never mind plonking them in front of computers or get involved with 'team project work'; they learn nothing like this as has been shown over and over again. With computers they print out what they want without really learning it, with team project work the strongest member(s) carry the brunt whilst the others skive, knowing it'll get done for them. Using computers they learn nothing of finding out for themselves... they learn nothing of they joy of books and discovering something for themselves, a key part of learning. If children are educated to learn, and given the inspiration to find out more themselves, then we can ask no more. It's old-fashioned in many quarters for 'chalk and talk', learning by rote, memorising things off by heart and the rest, but study after study shows it works. There was a programme just a couple of months ago where modern day children (expected to get A* Grades and all in GCSE) failed abysmally in the most basic of spelling and mathematics - how can that be right? Victims of the 'free expression' age and so long as they get across what they are trying to say the grammar and spelling doesn't matter?
'Double Metres: For Sail'. What's your interpretation? I'll let it run for a bit.
I was unacademic as a child, below average for most things aside from English, nor was I good with my hands. I didn't do well in my exams. Was this to do with new methods in teaching where I wasn't encouraged to learn? Or drilled by rote? Would I have done better in much bigger class sizes yet with superior pass rates in exams with the older ways? Who knows, perhaps I was just one of life's failures anyway. But because of that, did I deserve to end up with jobs with no prospects or any kind of satisfaction? No of course not. Nor did I deserve to pass any exams with * Grades simply because Political Correctness abhors failure.
I didn't agree with Grammar Schools per se, failing a young life at the age of 11; it's an awfully young age to pass or fail that life - some mature much later and would have benefitted from a Grammar School education. However, in principle I support the aims, and also the aims and ideals of Comprehensive education which gives everyone a chance; yet that too needed streaming to make sure that the best chance was given to everyone.
The idea of 50% attending University is an insult to be honest - I'd never have made university, never in a million years. That said, everyone deserves that chance and shouldn't come to money, and if someone can prove to the Uni that there intentions are the best to study and pass, then so be it. However, making up courses just so that 50% can claim a degree once again debases the whole thing. BA in Star Trek? How can that be right against a country strugging for nurses, doctors, scientists?
At the root the emphasis and basis of learning needs to be shifted to encouragement, right from a young age, and that, sadly, must involve parents today.
Gosh. Sorry for the long post. I hope it wasn't too boring. Zzzz.
Posted 18 October 2004 - 03:15 PM
I suppose the system of marking GCSE and A-level papers is somewhat corrupt too, in that they don't set grade boundaries for a raticular year until after all the marks are collated.
It's a change in culture really, it's not people becoming less able to learn.
A prime example is a friend of mine from school who wants to teach but didn't quite get the GCSE grades to do the A-levels he wanted. He went off, did a vocational course, worked bloody hard for it, has now recently started his A-levels, and is rightly proud of his achievements.
There's a lot of good teachers out there too, but aren't allowed to do the job properly by the government or the pupils. One of mine knew his subject inside out, and could teach it too, but was balding, ginger and gay, and so was for some reason, as kids do, persecuted to the point of resigning and was last heard of working for minimum wage in some sort of cash-and-carry place. Such a waste.
Posted 25 October 2004 - 10:36 AM
I think the proposals sound a good idea, aslong as students still have to take a set of "core" subjects such as basic maths,English,IT which are now life skills. They can then choose subjects which will give them something for the future such as construction skills/engineering and any vocational course but also allows the other students who wish to , to carry on and take courses to prepare themselevs for higher ed