Your are viewing a read-only archive of the old DiS boards. Please hit the Community button above to engage with the DiS !
Do they test knowledge/understanding or memory?
One off exams at the end of a course tend to test memory more.
But it all depends on the questions and how the subject is taught.
Lists of dates and facts will always skew towards memory, and analysis and critical interrogation will skew towards understanding.
For me personally short answer exams are a test of understanding along with assignments and stuff.
A multi-answer vote for joe exam will test memory and I can filter out which answers I know are total bull.
All at once.
Is it testing how much you can remember, rather than how much you know under the pressure to remember? I mean, I knew things six months ago that I'm a bit hazy about. I learnt things when I was six that I know very well, and the only difference in how well I remember them, is how much I care about them. I can also trigger a memory from a seemingly random association, but it isn't something that I know that I could access without a key to unlock it.
it can be more about the ability to understand the exam and how to take it, IMO (i.e. the structure of the paper, and the structure of the answer it's looking for), rather than being all about outright ability to memorise and/or understand the subject.
It is a test of memory to a degree, but if the questions are well written then it is a more thorough test of whether a candidate knows their subject. I'd have a 50/50 split - multiple guess/written answers. Sort the men from the boys (women from the girls)
but knowing all the subjects you're studying, all at the same time, and leaping from RE to Maths in a day, isn't that a bit much to expect? Surely there is a limit to the mental bandwidth to memorize ALL the subjects you're studying, and if employers want to know you'll be good at your job, surely they'd ideally want someone with an A in a relevant subject, and Cs in everything else? Specialist knowledge is so much more important in most walks of life, this is why no-one takes General Studies seriously...
it's only in the past 20(ish) years that this softening of the end-of-term type exam has happened. It was always the accepted way (barring one or two specific subjects) that this was the test of a person's knowledge. Learning 8 or 9 subjects for May/June was the accepted way, and no-one was really disadvantaged by it. If this system returns then I would expect to see fewer top grades - no necessarily a bad thing imo
Especially those who can't cram information or blag it. Those who are able to work throughout the entire year, putting together projects or working in groups etc (i.e. how things actually work in employment) were massively disadvantaged by having a single, synoptic, examination at the end of the year.
The other thing with modules is that cumulatively, the exams are much longer, and the depth of knowledge tested is much greater than synoptic exams.
mean that those who are for want of a better term 'good at exams' becoming an elite, whereas in my opinion, exams aren't a great way of separating the smart from the stupid, if that's what grades are meant to do.
I know and I've employed some A* people who are great at some things, but rubbish a lot of other stuff, including having an ability to explain or debate their understanding of some quite simple concepts. They know which concepts they should know, but they often can't tell you how that fits into anything else or what they feel about them.
I'm just not sure exams are the best way to get a sense of someone's 'intelligence'. I mean, I sat next to a kid who got all A* in everything in English, and he didn't care about or particularly understand Shakespeare, but he still got better grades than me, because I was there getting blissfully lost in the language and seeing how it has informed generations that followed, but could I remember the right name of a character in an exam sixteen months later? Did that mean I was stupid or did I mean that I chose to revise something that wasn't in the exam? (clearly we all know I'm stupid or I would be doing something with my life that isn't running a website that I can't afford to fix)
Knowing that I meant to write "I meant, I sat next to a kid in English class..." but stupidity is not reading back what I wrote to correct my poor grammar.
One thing I would say is that end-of-year exams are as good a way as any to measure a person's ability to retain information, which is a useful pre-requisite for certain jobs, particularly those of a vocational/professional nature.
I think coursework has value in many cases, not least those where practical skills are important - imagine an art GCSE or A-Level without any portfolio work, or a Resistant Materials (woodwork) course where you don't actually show off your handiwork.
Modular courses I'm a bit more ambivalent over, although I do wonder why they're good enough for pretty much all our universities but apparently not any of our schools.
It's also about Gove yearning for a style of education where learning by rote becomes more important than the ability to apply whatever knowledge you do have.
I wish a government would actually leave education alone for once and stop tinkering with it every year or two before any of the changes made previously have had time to bed in. It's a wonder schools manage to teach kids anything at all given how often the goalposts are moved.
I wonder if Gove is actually planning on announcing what the replacement for his scrapped ICT curriculum is sometime? He only scrapped it 8 months ago leaving a complete void in *any* computer based education whatsoever.
Gove hasn't mentioned anything yet, I don't think, but a lot of teachers at KS3 are going to be informing their curriculum with the new NAACE standards which are actually a step in the right direction.
once you get past all the blue-sky thinking stuff on the powerpoint, there's actually some quite good guidelines in there.
It beggars belief that the DoE actually has nothing in place at the moment though.
it's insane, isn't it. I don't think that's going to change any time soon either. We've done a lot of research into it and it looks like KS3 teachers are just going to pick and choose and design their own schemes of work. KS4 teachers are, well, pretty fucked!
The system has needed a shake-up for a while and this might be the answer - if (important if) it's done correctly. Not all Tory ideas are bad for education - they are usually badly-received but sometimes they do work. Also, the Blair vision of everyone going to uni and getting a degree was always ridiculous so if it helps to do what exams are supposed to do (i.e. grade students by what they know about a subject) then bring it on.
What education has 'needed' for about 20 years is to be left alone for five fucking minutes. And I've no doubt that (c)Conserative education policies 'work'- that's exactly what worries me.
like they are sweeties? Don't agree. If school is about preparing kids for the adult world then lowering pass marks is no way to do it.
Are exams getting easier, or have schools learned how to prepare children to pass exams better? After all, schools are basically measured by how well they get kids through exams, so it would be logical that results improve over time (probably at the cost of other equally important things).
Also, and this is a total devil's-advocate (and slightly silly) argument, but the number of people successfully climbing Everest is steadily rising year-on-year. This is probably due to better equipment/resources etc rather than Everest getting shorter...but why can't the same logic be applied to GCSEs? Can it not just be that schools are better-resourced and teachers are better-equipped to help students get better marks?
If you keep moving the goalposts every year, there is going to be no way of monitoring the success of the education system over time.
Whilst I appreciate your point about measuring the education over long term, is it helpful to anyone to keep the goalposts where they are?
I do actually think education is getting better and improving over time, but therefore don’t grade boundaries have to be moved to allow people to differentiate between the quality of pupils? Otherwise you would have a bunch of A/A* grade pupils of differing quality.
I guess really the problem lies with grading in the first place…
Either you're aiming to differentiate between people in a given age group, or you're aiming to set a steady standard for people to meet. If the latter, then expect your pass rate to fluctuate and most likely increase as we (as a society) get better at training individuals to meet that standard. If the former, then don't expect the actual grade "achieved" to actually be particularly meaningful beyond UCAS applications.
Don't have any set views in particular, and can see arguments for both sides!
I'm Scottish and ignorant.
has a heavily-weighted final exam, and a large number of modular assessments are conducted via exam rather than coursework or observation.
If you're not great at exams (or unlucky on the day with which questions they choose to ask), but get all As for coursework and exams on particular topics, that you don't 'fail' and might scrape a C from getting As elsewhere, but in the final exam you got what would be a D.
history a-level for instance remembering key dates and what happened is bloody important.
It's stringing these dates and facts together to form a cohesive argument which is the main bit, however. So it's a mix. One informs and strengthens the other.
but the evaluation and understanding of sources.
idk. You still need to remember the dates and facts though, but yes evailuating and linking them to form an argument is the main bit.
Knowing a name, date and some statistics, is far less important than comprehending motivations, the context, the impact, and the scale of the tragedy that was something like the holocaust. i.e. I found it hard to remember the exact date of D-Day because my mind was blinded but what a cunt Hilter was.
but the dates string a narrative together. Understanding the material, sources, evaluating them etc is obviously the key skill to be learned, but dates and events make em fit.
This is another of Gove's fucking stupid policies.