Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-edu (332 mails)

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Re: [suse-linux-uk-schools] Plans for a Linux distro
  • From: Ian <ian.lynch2@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2002 08:15:14 +0000 (UTC)
  • Message-id: <02020408062800.15529@xxxxxxxxxx>
On Sunday 03 February 2002 23:32, 'Frank Shute' wrote:

> Ask admissions tutors at any university of how their intake of undergrads
> stack up when it comes to being prepared to take a technical subject
> at degree level - the fact is that they don't. OK, they'll weed out
> the chaff from the corn but they've still got a hell of a lot of
> preparation to do on these students.

A level subjects are not uniformily difficult (or easy depending on your view

Universities are in fierce competition for the best students. Far more
students go to university so unless they are significantly more intelligent
for some reason, the number of able ones per population entering is lower.
This is why there is a big demand for maths because A level maths students
are generally speaking the brightest of those with a technical leaning.
Probably why admissions tutors prefer maths to computer studies at A level.

> Schools are driven by bogus league tables that mean their and their
> pupil's & staff's success is gauged by exam passes.

If you look at any situations where league tables are introduced, standards
rise. Look at Rugby Union. The fact is that there are many many more students
in the system and in the pre-league tables era, many of these would never
have passed a GCSE or an A level let alone gone to Univ. If we believe
getting more students into HE is a good thing the current problems
inevitable. OTOH if you believe HE is only suited to a minority, you have a
point and we should be requiring A or B grade at A level in say 4 or 5
subjects for anyone to enter any University. Bear in mind this would also
mean redundancies in university teaching staff.

> Hence demeaned &
> worthless exams passed by students studying worthless and demeaning
> dross like VB.

This is a minor thing in the scheme of things and there are plenty of similar
issues in other subjects. I think the lack of technical rigour in ICT
throughout the education system is the real problem of which the VB thing is
a symptom, and its not the most important one.

> > People record simple macros then they edit them. VB is a natural
> > progression from on from this. That the way the mainstream world is
> > working. Sorry if you feel that I may be wrong but from where I am
> > standing, this is the case.
> Yes, but is it right? And is it right that somebody posts to this list
> & explicitly suggests that it is the only `possibility'? And when
> someone questions the status quo they're condemned for being some sort
> of thug?

Thats just an effect of the emotion you put into your replies :-)

> Too right. Linux and open source software needs to be seen in the
> wider perspective of what IMHO is a failing education system & it's
> political context.

The education system has been failing for years, in fact ever since I can
remember but in reality for the most part, my observations show better
teaching than when I was at school. That doesn't mean everything in the
garden is rosey but neither is it all doom and gloom.

> To kick off with, league tables should be binned along with the
> present exam boards.

You forgot IMHO :-)

And what are you going to put in their place? OK ban league tables but with
the wonders of modern technology the Daily Mail will do unofficial ones. Ban
exams boards and replace them with what? No exams? I have some sympathy with
getting rid of GCSE if most people stay on to 18 but ingeneral you need some
measurement of performance and progress otherwise how do you decide who goes
on which university course who who is qualified to do what job?


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