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The dumbed down syllabus trope

Further to yesterday’s post, see:

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Posted by on December 10, 2006 in Aussie interest, Education, Jim Belshaw

 

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Dumbed down syllabuses?

Yes, I do accept “syllabuses” as an English plural these days, but you may have “syllabi” if you prefer… See Ask Oxford.

There is some good discussion on education happening on Mikey’s Blog at the moment, particularly on whether the Science courses in schools have been “dumbed down.” Do check the comments there as well. Great to see such thinking in a teacher-to-be.

And now Mikey has gone and written a follow-up entry. I note too he seems to have invented a rather good word in his other entry today: “My bestmate Sarge and I tottled down to uni for the Shute Shield Woods-Uni game yesterday…” I like it: kind of toddled mixed with tottered. Was that the idea?
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Posted by on April 30, 2006 in Aussie interest, Education

 

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My coachees did rather well last year, then

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald has one of those education stories that could cause distress to HSC students and their parents unless they are particularly well-informed: Students ‘let down’ by marking system.

THE Higher School Certificate marking system is cutting out too many high-level English students, say teachers.

The NSW Board of Studies said it will act on concerns the state’s English teachers raised about last year’s disappointing HSC results.

Students in the advanced English course achieved the lowest level of top results since the new HSC was introduced in 2000. Only 5 per cent of the 27,500 students enrolled in the advanced English course last year scored between 90 and 100 in the HSC.

That compared with 15 per cent of the 26,000 students who sat the same level of mathematics.

The proportion of HSC students who achieved the top (band 6) result of 90 to 100 in advanced English dropped from 8 per cent in 2004 to 6 per cent in 2006.

In 2001, it fails to mention, no students at all achieved Band 6 in Standard English, and that certainly caused some angst at the time. The key point is the bell curve no longer rules the HSC results. Marks are not straitened statistically to fit a prescribed pattern year after year, so they will vary from year to year. Further, because the marking is standards-based, it is entirely conceivable that there could be subjects where everyone (or no-one) gets the top band: minority subjects like Ancient Greek come to mind. Again, comparisons between one subject and another, like that in the story between English and Maths, are really not valid. Unfortunately, that fact and the calculations that produce a Universities Admission Index seem contradictory; at least I think they do. The UAI is a complex ranking exercise. Whether results are classified as Band 6, 5, 4 or whatever does not affect rank. Someone still comes first in the state, and someone else still comes last. In the past, before 2001, marks were changed or adjusted so that a certain rank produced more or less the same set of marks from year to year, no matter what variations in the quality of answers from one year to another. This particular fiddling was not really questioned until the new HSC began in 2001 when it was abandoned.

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Posted by on September 17, 2007 in Aussie interest, Education

 

The HSC English moanings of Miranda…

…and her mate Barry Spurr.

From the esoteric mind of a Latin Mass Catholic HSC crib writer and a right-wing Catholic newspaper columnist comes this “objective” analysis of the 2009–2012 NSW HSC prescribed texts. Honestly, the parent who complained on my English/ESL site that “the HSC English curriculum is a load of s**t and I wonder – and I think many parents would wonder – how the study of English degenerated into mere literary criticism*” should, logically, praise the new list, if Miranda is giving it fair representation — but of course she is not.

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I’m watching “Difference of Opinion”…

…and I am learning very little, except that Kevin Donnelly is still cherry-pickings stats, and relying on anecdotal evidence if it suits him. Further, it appears he left public school teaching because he felt his particular brand of reactionary ideology was not sufficiently rewarded. He strikes me as a resentful man being avenged now “on the whole pack of you”. (I imagine he values Twelfth Night as much as I do and will get the allusion.) He is as lacking in real substance in 2007 as he was at the time I reviewed his great thoughts a few years back — see links on the right under “education”. He is on an ideological mission diligently finding “facts” to support his fetishes or to condemn his Aunt Sallies. He is very good at undermining public confidence in education and at preventing serious thought about where our culture, and education, may stand in this 21st century world, which he seems to reject, so far indeed as he actually comprehends it. As long as we can spell it doesn’t matter that we can’t think. (I believe in both by the way.)

Matthew Arnold he isn’t.
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Posted by on February 26, 2007 in Aussie interest, climate change, Current affairs, Education, Films, DVDs, TV, Pontification and raving

 

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Remembering Little Pattie

I was a sober and very Christian student taking a year out working for an insurance company when Little Pattie’s ‘He’s My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy’ rose to No 2 on the hit parades. Later I seem to remember a school dance in my first teaching job at Cronulla High where my unique version of stomping turned a few heads; invention rather than skill distinguished my performance. It was one of the first signs of my departure from Calvinism.

Funnily enough I was talking about Little Pattie a week ago when I dropped into the SBHS Swimming Carnival. My colleague Steve S is a friend of hers and a great admirer, and a trades union comrade. So I was interested to see her tonight on Talking Heads. You can’t get much more Australian than Little Pattie. I was struck by two things: 1) it is possible to appreciate our military and those who were part of the fight in Vietnam and are in Iraq without approving of either war; 2) it is possible to see clearly where we are going wrong in this country without resorting to cliched left-wing positions.

For example:
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Posted by on February 12, 2007 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, Education, Films, DVDs, TV, Jim Belshaw, Politics

 

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