A-levels mess

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Grumble
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Re: mess

Post by Grumble » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:32 pm

Trinucleus wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:13 pm
jimbob wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:20 pm
I wonder what this "week in Tory" is going to be like. Shambolic even by their standards and it's only Monday.
What they need is someone who noticed what happened in Scotland two weeks ago, and suggested it might happen in England.

Someone good at predicting. A sort of super-predictor.......
Why should they bother checking on things from abroad? Honestly, it’s not like this “scotland” place is near London.
I know this is vitriol, no solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed, don’t you?

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Little waster
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Re: mess

Post by Little waster » Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:50 pm

I think we should all just take a moment to think about the most blameless victim in all this ... Armando Iannucci.

It’s tragic to think his once-promising future as a professional satirist has been completely snuffed out by a gang of dangerous incompetents hell-bent on killing satire stone dead.

Taken from us too soon :cry:
Shamelessly recycling old jokes since 1952.

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: mess

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:12 am

Sciolus wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:32 pm
jimbob wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:24 pm
Stolen
Yes, it was.
I sent it to my mum.

She replied:
What.. ? That's ABBA isn't it? I'm not with you, sorry 🤔! xxxx
That result was unfashionably in line with my prediction. Hoping she gets a place on a joke-spotting course in September.
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Bird on a Fire
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Re: mess

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Aug 18, 2020 12:14 am

Little waster wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:50 pm
I think we should all just take a moment to think about the most blameless victim in all this ... Armando Iannucci.

It’s tragic to think his once-promising future as a professional satirist has been completely snuffed out by a gang of dangerous incompetents hell-bent on killing satire stone dead.

Taken from us too soon :cry:
Iannucci and Brooker will be looked back on as Nostradami* of the 21st century.

*I think it's a kind of sausage
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Millennie Al
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Re: mess

Post by Millennie Al » Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:16 am

Has nobody yet pointed out that if it were possible to use an algorithm, teacher's assesments, or other factors to arrive at the correct results, then the exams would be pointless?
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FlammableFlower
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Re: mess

Post by FlammableFlower » Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:48 am

:lol: indeed

I was annoyed by their rather lame and peevish comment that was reported on radio 4 PM programme last night - that other countries have used such a system and its fine. Really? Which countries exactly? I certainly haven't heard of any. And was it really so great?

Allo V Psycho
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Re: mess

Post by Allo V Psycho » Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:04 am

Millennie Al wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:16 am
Has nobody yet pointed out that if it were possible to use an algorithm, teacher's assesments, or other factors to arrive at the correct results, then the exams would be pointless?
Well, not exactly. While the exams results themselves have uncertainties associated with them, teachers' assessments have a greater degree of uncertainty. In particular teacher estimates are significantly higher than actual outcomes (about 40% of students perform less well than their predictions) and only a small percentage (less than 10%, being generous) perform less well. The actual grades are a better predictor of later performance than the predicted grades.

Teacher estimates are influenced by a number of factors. Straightforward gaming, for one: deliberate over-prediction to ensure candidates get interviews. But there is probably also a personal element (and perhaps ex/current teachers here can tell me): might teachers give an estimate at the top end of a student's ability, to encourage them to aspire to it?

What exams measure is not entirely clear. Of course, they could just be measuring 'being good at exams'. But there are a number of puzzling pieces of evidence around that. For instance, medical student exam scores predict later fitness-to-practice sanctions (negatively! higher scores are associated with lower likelihood of sanctions). And sanctions are rarely associated with straightforward lack of knowledge or skill - there is generally some 'moral' element involved.

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Re: mess

Post by Allo V Psycho » Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:55 am

FlammableFlower wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:48 am
:lol: indeed

I was annoyed by their rather lame and peevish comment that was reported on radio 4 PM programme last night - that other countries have used such a system and its fine. Really? Which countries exactly? I certainly haven't heard of any. And was it really so great?
The Germans held exams as usual
https://www.dw.com/en/germany-school-le ... a-52917576
The French based the Bac on continuous assessment work, and as a result had a much higher pass rate, putting strain on University places
https://www.connexionfrance.com/French- ... inal-exams
This review is quite interesting, for the three strategies of cancel, delay, or modify exams.
https://blogs.worldbank.org/education/h ... t-approach

Of the three approaches mentioned, my view is that the best would have been to have held exams as usual, modifying for social distancing etc., with on line elements where feasible. Delay those elements where modification not feasible. That’s what I did, in my own particular pond.

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Re: mess

Post by shpalman » Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:57 am

The exams we've done so far, via Zoom, for the first year students at the polimi seem to have worked out with an average mark and pass rate similar to last year's.

(ETA the polimi's entrance exam was also done online but using a different platform, with a locked-down browser and an AI watching the webcam.)
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El Pollo Diablo
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Re: mess

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:08 am

Just imagine what might have been if gove hadn't changed the examination pattern to only the end of the two years. If it was still modular, there'd be actual results to go off. Ah well.
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Re: mess

Post by plodder » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:25 am

Exams. Weird form of hazing to channel kids into some artificial and meaningless club and subsequent employment treadmill.

It all entirely relies on people's credulity. What's the big deal? f.ck em.

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Re: mess

Post by PeteB » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:33 am

maybe use 'the algorithm' based on school past per performance and GCSE / AS Level performance of this cohort to give the school across all subjects a number of points and then let the teachers decide how to dish out the points in what subjects to which candidates

Oversubscribed universities - can't they give a financial incentive to students to either come next year or go somewhere else (bit like overbooked airlines)

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Re: mess

Post by warumich » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:42 am

PeteB wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:33 am
Oversubscribed universities - can't they give a financial incentive to students to either come next year or go somewhere else (bit like overbooked airlines)
I was just about to agree with this, but on second thoughts it seems like a nice way of making sure poorer students will end up in less prestigious universities, again.
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Re: mess

Post by warumich » Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:57 am

warumich wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:42 am
PeteB wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:33 am
Oversubscribed universities - can't they give a financial incentive to students to either come next year or go somewhere else (bit like overbooked airlines)
I was just about to agree with this, but on second thoughts it seems like a nice way of making sure poorer students will end up in less prestigious universities, again.
Though, part of the problem is of course the whole recockulous university prestige ranking that in this country appears to be more important to just about everyone than what the kids actually get to learn there, and how they perform. If the whole fiasco punches a bit of a puncture in this system then that'll be a great outcome, but I'm not holding my breath.
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Re: mess

Post by jimbob » Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:03 am

shpalman wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:57 am
The exams we've done so far, via Zoom, for the first year students at the polimi seem to have worked out with an average mark and pass rate similar to last year's.

(ETA the polimi's entrance exam was also done online but using a different platform, with a locked-down browser and an AI watching the webcam.)
My daughter's finals turned into coursework with 24-hours deadline, and assuming people would use textbooks etc, which I'd think is a better measure of competence than a traditional exam. There are precious few situations after university where one would have to remember* degree-level information that one doesn't use every day.

*as opposed to understand it
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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warumich
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Re: mess

Post by warumich » Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:12 am

th
warumich wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:57 am
university prestige ranking
Sorry one more thing. It's amazing how closely supposedly objective research strength or teaching strength rankings, or any other university KPI rankings, end up matching a simple chronological list of how old the university is.

Just like with A-levels, the purpose sometimes appears to be to confirm a ranking that's already been decided on, not to measure anything useful...
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Re: mess

Post by PeteB » Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:24 am

warumich wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:12 am
th
warumich wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:57 am
university prestige ranking
Sorry one more thing. It's amazing how closely supposedly objective research strength or teaching strength rankings, or any other university KPI rankings, end up matching a simple chronological list of how old the university is.

Just like with A-levels, the purpose sometimes appears to be to confirm a ranking that's already been decided on, not to measure anything useful...
Yes, I remember being desperately disappointed not getting into a Russell Group university and went to Manchester Poly to do Mechanical Engineering, but I was really impressed with the standard of teaching and their close links with industry and I feel I really flourished there. There seemed a lot of people from a more 'ordinary' background

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Re: mess

Post by lpm » Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:39 am

Homo sapiens are a competitive species. Part of civilisation is turning violent competition into artificial and meaningless competition.

Too many of these artificial and meaningless competitions are about running fast, throwing things, testing physical strength againxt others. The species urgently needs to get cleverer. We should be celebrating winners of intellectual competitions far more and winners of physical competition far less.

A-levels are a very very important artificial and meaningless competition. It does children a disservice to play them down or pretend a BTec is just as valid or any of the other leftie niceness intended to spare the feelings of the underachievers. Private schools know it's a tough competition and train children to compete against each other, e.g. annual exams with pupils results ranked in order.

Winners of the artificial and meaningless A-level competition not only get to better universities and on average lifelong higher earnings, they also on average get far more interesting careers. The subsequent employment treadmill is a treadmill for all - but there are unbelievably tedious treadmills and some relatively interesting treadmills. Children need to learn that the boredom of the classroom is nothing to the boredom of a lifetime on a tedious treadmill. Teenagers will emerge into the post-Brexit world with a Conservative English government in power for the next thirty years and they need to appreciate how grim it'll be for the losers of the A-level competition. It's all very well pointing out the uselessness of university rankings - but employers have faith in these rankings (and in A-level grades) and faith in something creates reality.

I'm getting pissed off with people moaning about next year's A-levels, complaining that private school kids have been less disrupted and children in comprehensives have missed a chunk of education. How can 16/17 year olds not see that this is a competition, an even more brutal competition than usual, and that if they wasted months in 2020 on the Playstation then they can expected to lose against rivals who devoted those months to study? If you know you're handicapped by your school's standards, you know you have to put in more work. A pandemic and a deep economic depression, plus Brexit, results in a cut-throat competitive environment where getting to a university with the right name matters more, not less.

It's a hard truth that graduate unemployment/under-employment will be very high for the next decade or more, which means artificial sorting methods from employers will become more prevalent. Having A-level results sorted by a clumsy algorithm is nothing compared to employer recruitment sorted by lazy prejudices and name recognition.
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Re: mess

Post by discovolante » Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:42 am

jimbob wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:03 am
shpalman wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:57 am
The exams we've done so far, via Zoom, for the first year students at the polimi seem to have worked out with an average mark and pass rate similar to last year's.

(ETA the polimi's entrance exam was also done online but using a different platform, with a locked-down browser and an AI watching the webcam.)
My daughter's finals turned into coursework with 24-hours deadline, and assuming people would use textbooks etc, which I'd think is a better measure of competence than a traditional exam. There are precious few situations after university where one would have to remember* degree-level information that one doesn't use every day.

*as opposed to understand it
Ooh yes why not do this? I don't know about anyone else but I'm always having to figure stuff out to a deadline of a few hours/couple of days etc. It seems much more tied to the real world. (Having said that I also have to be able to do stuff on the spot as well and remember things, although funnily enough I am 'allowed' to have notes with me rather than just do it all entirely from memory). I think when I did my diploma 10 years ago part of the assessment was a research assignment where I had one or two days to do the work and hand it in.
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Re: mess

Post by murmur » Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:49 am

Grumble wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:32 pm
Trinucleus wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 6:13 pm
jimbob wrote:
Mon Aug 17, 2020 4:20 pm
I wonder what this "week in Tory" is going to be like. Shambolic even by their standards and it's only Monday.
What they need is someone who noticed what happened in Scotland two weeks ago, and suggested it might happen in England.

Someone good at predicting. A sort of super-predictor.......
Why should they bother checking on things from abroad? Honestly, it’s not like this “scotland” place is near London.
It's not that far from Durham City though but...
It's so much more attractive inside the moral kiosk

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Re: A-levels mess

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:15 am

Just given the topic a clearer title
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Re: mess

Post by snoozeofreason » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:28 am

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:55 am
FlammableFlower wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 6:48 am
:lol: indeed

I was annoyed by their rather lame and peevish comment that was reported on radio 4 PM programme last night - that other countries have used such a system and its fine. Really? Which countries exactly? I certainly haven't heard of any. And was it really so great?
The Germans held exams as usual
https://www.dw.com/en/germany-school-le ... a-52917576
The French based the Bac on continuous assessment work, and as a result had a much higher pass rate, putting strain on University places
https://www.connexionfrance.com/French- ... inal-exams
This review is quite interesting, for the three strategies of cancel, delay, or modify exams.
https://blogs.worldbank.org/education/h ... t-approach

Of the three approaches mentioned, my view is that the best would have been to have held exams as usual, modifying for social distancing etc., with on line elements where feasible. Delay those elements where modification not feasible. That’s what I did, in my own particular pond.
To be fair, back in March, the government was facing a lot of pressure to cancel exams - from the media, schools, and the public. If they had decided to go ahead with them, they would have had to hold the line against increasing opposition for several months. It might have been technically possible, but it would have been difficult to push it through if significant numbers of people - particularly schools, pupils, and parents - had been unenthusiastic.

In addition, there would have been significant unfairness, because some pupils would have been much better able to prepare during the school closures than others due to better home environment, more supportive parents and schools, etc. And the beneficiaries would likely to have been the students from more wealthy families.
Last edited by snoozeofreason on Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: mess

Post by snoozeofreason » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:32 am

Duplicate post
In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. The human body was knocked up pretty late on the Friday afternoon, with a deadline looming. How well do you expect it to work?

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: mess

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:43 am

Allo V Psycho wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:04 am
Teacher estimates are influenced by a number of factors. Straightforward gaming, for one: deliberate over-prediction to ensure candidates get interviews. But there is probably also a personal element (and perhaps ex/current teachers here can tell me): might teachers give an estimate at the top end of a student's ability, to encourage them to aspire to it?
As with any non-blinded process there's also the problem of prejudice: black kids, poor kids, kids with behavioural issues etc get lower predictions for a given standard of attainment.
Allo V Psycho wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:04 am
What exams measure is not entirely clear. Of course, they could just be measuring 'being good at exams'. But there are a number of puzzling pieces of evidence around that. For instance, medical student exam scores predict later fitness-to-practice sanctions (negatively! higher scores are associated with lower likelihood of sanctions). And sanctions are rarely associated with straightforward lack of knowledge or skill - there is generally some 'moral' element involved.
plodder wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:25 am
Exams. Weird form of hazing to channel kids into some artificial and meaningless club and subsequent employment treadmill.

It all entirely relies on people's credulity. What's the big deal? f.ck em.
I've always been good at exams. I can short-term memorise loads of facts pretty easily, structure an answer pretty quickly, write a sentence, etc.

Memorising facts is a party trick with few real-world uses, and I can write even better answers with a bit of prep time. I've never really seen any practical use of my sh.t-hot exam skillz in the real world - they don't even help with my PhD, never mind proper jobs outside academia. (The scholarship money has been useful, though)
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Re: A-levels mess

Post by PeteB » Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:18 am

Gavin, posing with whip and book of Conservative Party MPs indiscretions

https://images.app.goo.gl/oSqLbnMurG1DL53t8

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