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Messages - ONeill

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1
General discussion / Re: glastonbury
« on: Today at 12:06:57 AM »
Sheeran has more talent in his smallest toe than anyone else at that festival.

The thing about those types of festivals is a pretentiousness surrounding big sound bands who curse and scream a lot.

Mick Foster should close it.

2
GAA Discussion / Re: The Sunday Game
« on: June 25, 2017, 11:40:52 PM »
Brolly all over the place tonight.

He was advocating a grading system of hands on officlals. Some example to youngsters.

3
2003 was one of the best games I was at. Simply because it was farcical.

4
General discussion / Re: Teachers get it handy!
« on: June 24, 2017, 10:39:15 PM »
Owen, in your experience would you agree it's much easier to get your 3 As now compared to 1975/85 or even 95?

Is this down to

a) Better teaching
b) Online and additional resources
c) Dumbing down of content?

Just a few random Friday night thoughts while watching Radiohead at Glastonbury. (Much better than poor Kris)

No doubt.  Grade inflation has occurred and is not the fault of the young people in schools or who have left in the last ten years.  It is down to a number of factors:

1. Modularisation
All A level courses have been broken down into individual modules which can be taken on their own and repeated until the highest score is achieved.  Aggregation of the modular scores allows for high scores in some to compensate for lower scores in there difficulty.  AS level modules have the same value as A2 level modules yet the degree of difficulty of A2 course is much greater.  You can max out AS modules to compensate for not doing as well at A2 level.  Some modules within AS and A2 are easier than others, e.g. I recall in Maths you can substitute a module in statistics for a pure maths modules which is far more difficult.  In RE A level you can take history modules instead of the more difficult ethics modules and the end result is the same but an easy route through history.

All modular exams are sprints with small amounts of material covered by each one. When A levels had to be taken at the end of two years with a series of 3 hour exams it was much more difficult to achieve higher grades.

2. Coursework
Although coursework has been tightened up in recent years it is still easier to gain marls through this route than through exams and it suits those who can work hard but find that exams do not suit them.  Intervention in coursework beyond the exam candidate occurs.

3. Grading
Exams are no longer normative referenced (think that is the right term).  Until recent years, I think up to the end of the 80s, the grades awarded at A level were statistically calculated regardless of the achievement of the candidates.  the same percentage of students could gain E grade or better each year, it was 69% and applied to all subjects.  The percentages of candidates assigned to each grade were then assigned accordingly.  This was a cop out by the exam boards.  they could set papers that were hard or easy and then apply the percentages to each grade by statistical means.  In 80s, this was also applied to O levels and one year the pass mark for Maths ended up at the low 20% and A grades were awarded to those over 50% because the paper was so difficult no one did well but the same grade profile existed.  So, no matter how much you knew it did not matter in terms of the grade you would get, you just had to do better than your peers, it was a competition.  I used to joke to A level Chemistry students that after half an hour they should put their hands up to ask for more paper, (in those days exams weren't structured in booklets as now) this would have a negative effect on the others and give them an edge.  So, students competed against teacher other and not the exam paper when it came to grades.

Since the early 90s grades have been awarded on the basis of criterion referencing.  This means you get marks according to the amount of correct answers you provide and these raw marks are converted to standard marks, e.g. 600 for a paper and 480 gets an A.  The candidate now competes against the paper and not his peers.  The more you can answer the higher the grade you get regardless of how many others have given as goos answers.  Hence we have tight mark schemes and higher grades.

Structured Exams
Recent trends have led to exam papers being highly structured. A question is broken down into its component sub parts and each part answer is marked and contributes to the final score.  Older papers just set a question and the student was not led through a series of questions contributing to each other.  Candidates no longer have to know everything, as I used to advise, many answers can be found on the exam paper if you study the questions properly instead of blindly trying to answer individual sub parts.

Playing the game
Schools and particularly the teachers know how to play the exam game and strategies are developed within subject disciplines to help students maximise their scores towards a final grade.  Everything is worked out to ensure that students follow an assessment path that will get the best score.  This occurs in many ways within subject areas but some will include analysis of modules to find the easiest, e.g. choosing the correct books, plays and poetry in English Lit, the periods of History, human or physical geography etc.  Many teachers are exam experts and dispense advice to students on which modules to repeat to maximise scores.

Schools will offer subjects that are more suited to some students than others to maximise results.  Not all A levels are equal under criterion referencing.  In the old days all subjects were norm referenced and made equal in terms of the percentage of students achieving a particular grade.  Criterion referencing means that a student can take 'easier subjects' and get into a better course than someone just randomly picking A levels in an Arts provision.  You look at grades and the raw scores required to achieve them and decide which subject offers the most A  grades.  It is not a criticism of subjects or students taking them.  Vocational A levels with higher levels of coursework raised the number A grades overnight as they suited some students and allowed for more intervention by those other than the student, just look at coursework marks. Most of these subjects had 60% coursework, statistics showed that these subjects had students getting almost full marks in coursework but struggling to pass the exam module but still getting an A grade.  The use of BTEC assessment took this to a different level because the teacher started assessing students form the first day and just had to hand back work to make sure each assessment sub criterion was ticked to award the distinction grade.  BTECs allowed students to avoid exams completely and depend on teacher assessed modules where intervention was rampant in terms of marking and repeating until the right answer was achieved.

Better teaching
Better teaching has been achieved as criterion referencing of assessment has meant that the teacher can teach precisely to the exam and have the students ready for the exam down to the final detail.  Years ago with norm referencing you just hope d your students were better than those in other schools, teachers competed against each if they wanted to improve results.  Now, they compete against the exam specification and win.

There are still those who shouldn't teach at A level but schools have worked this out and put those who are best in the top team of the school.  A level teaching is regarded by teachers as a measure of ability and esteem in which they are held. 

A wider range of courses and more modern exam specifications have rejuvenated some teachers and given them a keener interest in their subjects and desire to teach for their own enjoyment.

So, what are you saying?

5
General discussion / Re: Teachers get it handy!
« on: June 24, 2017, 10:38:41 PM »
Next year we're focusing on full stops. Time to get back to basics.

6
GAA Discussion / Re: Down v Monaghan - Saturday 24th June at 7pm
« on: June 24, 2017, 10:36:33 PM »
No better sight than Down with a bit of swagger about them.

This psychologist lad is working wonders.

7
Down don't like us.

8
General discussion / Re: The OFFICIAL Liverpool FC thread
« on: June 23, 2017, 11:51:04 PM »
No sign of a lean yet - but .............

visitors can't see pics , please register or login


visitors can't see pics , please register or login


Great buy. The new Sahin.

9
General discussion / Re: Teachers get it handy!
« on: June 23, 2017, 11:08:10 PM »
Owen, in your experience would you agree it's much easier to get your 3 As now compared to 1975/85 or even 95?

Is this down to

a) Better teaching
b) Online and additional resources
c) Dumbing down of content?

10
General discussion / Re: Mayweather v Mc Gregor
« on: June 23, 2017, 11:04:05 PM »
Can't help but think this is already sorted in advance. A heroic show by McGregor prompting a rematch and another 100m each.

11
Armagh by 6

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GAA Discussion / Re: Old outfield players still plugging away?
« on: June 23, 2017, 07:42:32 PM »
Socrates was well into his 50s.

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General discussion / Re: Teachers get it handy!
« on: June 23, 2017, 07:41:44 PM »
Bomber, what facts do you deal in? You know nothing about being a teacher. That's the fact

The facts that teachers don't work for a quarter of the year. The fact that teachers are not unique in taking their work home. The fact that teachers enjoy a shorter working week than most.

A quarter is conservative. Most teachers don't work really at all apart from a couple of weeks in April when they really step it up. Pure spongers and waste of tax-payers' money. And sure they youtube everything. How does Shakespeare show ambition in Macbeth - here, watch this youtube video. Fcukers couldn't dig a hole.

14
GAA Discussion / Re: Tyrone v Donegal - Sunday 18th June at 2pm
« on: June 23, 2017, 07:04:36 PM »
I see the Gary Glitter chant is back.

15
GAA Discussion / Re: We Are Ulster
« on: June 23, 2017, 07:03:42 PM »
https://player.fm/series/we-are-ulster/ep-12-paul-finlay-and-conor-deegan-on-down-v-monaghan

Latest one  - good review of the match in Clones last week. And how Tyrone are unfairly hated......

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