Maffs an Inglish

10°C, grey, rain threatens.

Teachers’ entry requirements:BBC they’re “getting tough” on teachers. The Govt. plan to raise the entry requirements to the profession by adjusting the skills tests taken by trainee teachers. The English & Maths tests will be raised to a GCSE grade B equivalent, once source said. For decades, all teachers must have a decent Degree. But wait, we all had to get that GCSE to get on the BA course all those years ago so what’s the problem? I don’t see what this is meant to achieve.
Let’s hope that the Govt. ministers will have to sit a test too. Don’t forget that Ed Balls, the previous Education Minister clearly stated that he wanted most pupils to be “above average”. So there is scope for improvement if a bloke who has such responsibility has not the faintest understanding of basic Year 8 maths. Averages, mean median and mode, we all understand it, why not you?
How did that guy get into Oxford?

Last day of summer

19C, cloudy, CR:29 miles

Our local free newspaper is a lot of fun. It’s full of schools boasting of their record breaking GCSE results. It’s their best year ever, they exclaim. But wait, it’s always the best year ever, the results have gone up each year for the last 24 years. So, of course it’s their best year. It would be weird if the results stayed level for a year. How many years does it take before they notice the pattern.
Are they all too sensitive to risk upsetting the teenagers by telling them it’s all getting easier?

It’s the last day of summer but looks as if autumn is already here. The remaining green plants are starting to turn already. The long dry spring is said to be the cause of an early autumn.

We’re going to have known nothing like it.

8°C, rain to come.

In a few hours the kids will get their A-Level results, the news will fill with arguments about grade inflation, the kids will pose for photos where they jump up holding their certificates aloft. Head-teachers will praise hard working staff, “young people” and support staff. The format is well established, the exam results have increased every year for 28 years. So what do you say to kids who are ‘put out’ by talk of exams getting easier? You could do what many do- lie by saying the results only reflect better teaching & hard work. I suggest they view the results in the context of 2011 standards. Students could say “I have a grade B (2011) but you got a grade B (2001) old boy”. It’s like a vintage, and after all, the structure of courses changes every two years or so. You can’t compare like with like with this pretty constant change. The media will try to anyway.

Shall I repost this next week when the GCSE results are released to kids?

Latest: the results have stayed the same for the first time in 28 years, within 0.5% anyway.

50% fail

24C, hot & humid.

Education panic: BBC 30% of 10 year olds fail to reach the “expected” level in maths & literacy. Erm, this is where I need to call on the services of a statics expert. Remember in the Labour Govt Ed Balls wanted most kids to achieve “above average (mean)” results? So with results scattered on a Normal Distribution curve, shouldn’t there be about 30%percentage reaching only the arbitrary “expected” level anyway? If you’re comfortable handling standard deviations, then perhaps you could post me an informative link. My competence with bell-curves falls below the required standard I have to say!

What I suspect here is that we are dealing with politicians’ stats rather than competently functioning data handling. (It’s not just me that feels uneasy)

I recall as a kid leaving primary school my own reading age test result was considerably below my chronological age. I’m sure I now have a reading age considerably above 46 years. So the problem was only really a problem for the school, not for me. On the other hand, statistics abuse is a real problem in journalism and politics in the last few decades.