UK education - Physics GCSE: 'insultingly easy, non scientific, and vague'

Discussion in 'The Red Room' started by Ebeneezer Goode, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. Ebeneezer Goode

    Ebeneezer Goode Gobshite

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    linky

    i suspect in around 20 years, only kids from private education will be employable :marathon:
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  2. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder Fresh Meat

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    Same things being said for Maths also (I've seen some of the maths GCSE papers for the last few years from some exam boards and they're an absolute joke). At least partly due to Labour's embarassingly pathetic attempt to increase maths/science/engineering graduates - by making the subjects seem pitifully trivial at school. The country's going down the shitter!
  3. Ash

    Ash how 'bout a kiss?

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    I wish I had dumb ass questions like that on my physics tests. All I remember from physics is lots of writting, then erasing, then more writting, then screaming profanities.
  4. Linda R.

    Linda R. Fresh Meat

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    I weep for Nuffield Physics. :cry:
  5. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder Fresh Meat

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    Of course it doesn't help either that due to the teacher shortage, there are hardly any physics graduates to teach physics anyway. Biologists, and in some cases home economics teachers are doing it.


    This doesn't really surprise me that much when the education minister is only qualified as a postman.

    A fucking postman.
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  6. Summerteeth

    Summerteeth Here and there

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    It makes me so sad. :( I loved Physics and got a B at it at A Level -- after much hard work and hours of trying to understand things. At GCSE level we were playing with ticker tape machines to measure velocity and waving gamma rays around to see if they could be detected through paper, not worrying about melanin.

    Totally cheapens it, IMHO.
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  7. enlisted person

    enlisted person Black Swan

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    I took two college physics classes in the UK. It was through the University of maryland overseas, but our instructors were British. The teacher's name was Geofry Robinson and he intruduced himself as a mathematician. The man was awesome and knew his stuff without doubt. Great classes. I loved physics. It was where math had a purpose, where the rubber met the road.
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  8. Summerteeth

    Summerteeth Here and there

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    :yes: Same here

    I could cope with the complex maths in physics because I could visualise it better, somehow.

    Give me equations out of a maths book and I'd be :huh:
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  9. Jeff Cooper Disciple

    Jeff Cooper Disciple You've gotta be shittin' me.

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    I never liked math because it seems like it was all academic with no practical use. Then physics came along in college and I was hooked.
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  10. enlisted person

    enlisted person Black Swan

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    like the quadratic formula?
  11. MiniBorg

    MiniBorg Bah Humbug

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    My friend is an Oxford Physics student, and he's been helping his little brother with his physics GCSES. He was complaining a few months ago about how it's been difficult, because some of the questions are so easy, he has to doublecheck, incase its a trick question. And the physics course is skipping over stuff, because its "too complicated", meaning they're getting the right answers with the wrong processes, they'll have the right answers, but completely the wrong understanding of how it all works, and will have to unlearn it all for A-level. Plus, a lot of stuff has been marked wrong by the teacher according to him, so he was considering trying to go into for one of the parents evening, instead of the parents, so he can ask questions.

    From what I can see, a hell of a lot of GCSEs are becoming like this. I hate to use the phrase dumbing down, but they're not expecting enough of the pupils. I know it's hard, but easy =/= correct answer. And I try not to say this from my pedestal of having already got through them.

    Oh, and did anyone else every have teachers trying to be "cool" by telling you that the next module was "really hard" or "boring"?

    That really doesnt help.
  12. Linda R.

    Linda R. Fresh Meat

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    :jayzus: You know what makes me really nostalgic? When I took Physics O level, the harbingers of doom were predicting the collapse of Rome because we were tested on our understanding of theories rather than our ability to parrot them.
    I feel sorry for the kids who genuinely think they're doing as well as we did - hell, as well as daughter did. They're in for a nasty shock in the workplace.

    But as I've said ad nauseum, since Sats came in, schools have been about jumping through hoops, not education. :bang:
  13. Chris

    Chris Federalist

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    I blame that jet-setting researcher lifestyle! What with their Porsches and supermodels... :garamet:
  14. enlisted person

    enlisted person Black Swan

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    What is a GCSE? What is an A level? Just asking for us stupid Americans that don't know it.
  15. Chris

    Chris Federalist

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    Didn't your teachers beat you people, or was that just nonsense? What happened to the rough and tumble British education system? The school of hard knocks as it were...
  16. Linda R.

    Linda R. Fresh Meat

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    GCSE (O level for my generation) is the exam taken at 16. A levels are taken at 18.
    Given that our bachelors degrees are three years where yours are four, I'd guess that high school graduation comes between the two.
    To expand further: General Certificate of Secondary Education.
    Ordinary level
    Advanced level.
    Not stupid to ask, given the way the goalposts have moved over the years, even we have trouble following it. :garamet:
  17. MiniBorg

    MiniBorg Bah Humbug

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    It was so nice when I left uni, I left just before the exams.

    That was the first year I hadn't spent my march/april/may worrying about exams in about seven years.

    I know we need testing, and the idea of testing a random 3% is just amazingly stupid, but to be tested every year for seven years, it just gets wearing.
  18. Linda R.

    Linda R. Fresh Meat

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    Weeeelllllll, at my school, we had exams twice every year. But that was solely for the teachers' benefit, to check on how much we'd learned, it didn't go on our record and nobody but the teachers and our parents judged us on them.
    Which meant they could get on with teaching us and leave the revision up to us.
    Nothing wrong with exams per se, the trouble comes when the government treats them as all-important.
  19. enlisted person

    enlisted person Black Swan

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    What do these exams determine? What if someone failed?
  20. Dan Leach

    Dan Leach Climbing Staff Member Moderator

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    Education standards have been dropping for well over a hundred years. I posted an entrance exam here years ago that Tolkien first failed then passed to get into a school at the age of 8 ( cant find the thing now). The questions were more difficult than most things an undergraduate would face nowadays, and still harder than A level still from the 50's and 60's
  21. Linda R.

    Linda R. Fresh Meat

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    They failed :shrug: Five O levels/GCSEs have long been considered the benchmark of a reasonable standard of education. If you want to go on to A levels, you've always had to pass at least five.
    Two A levels are the minimum for university admittance - but they won't get you into much that counts for more than the University of Hamburgerology - three A levels in the old days was a reasonable standard, five is not difficult today.

    The real problem is that (sounding like an old coot) in my day, 45% was the pass mark. These days, in certain subjects, it's enough to get you an A :jayzus:
  22. MiniBorg

    MiniBorg Bah Humbug

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    I'm only counting the exams that you can buy revision books for, that you get people being made to get tutors for, and that the teachers continually remind you you will be judged, have it on your CV, and rated according to how worthy a person you are.
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  23. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder Fresh Meat

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    In fact a decent proportion of physics graduates do actually go into teaching here (I think there's a feeling that they don't have many other options besides research and this). The money isn't bad, but the working conditions and demands are appalling. The problem is that the number of science graduates has been falling drastically for years - Labour's naive idea was that making the subject seem easy at school would reverse this trend.
  24. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder Fresh Meat

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    It's the style of testing that's the problem, and that 6 and 7 year olds have to sit SATS too. They don't even know what the fuck it's about. Even at this age, the kids get doctored into knowing the stuff required for the exam, and that's about it.

    Fuck Labour, fuck 'em really bad!
  25. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder Fresh Meat

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    When was the high point of education in the UK, according to you Dan? :marathon:
  26. Chris

    Chris Federalist

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    I dunno about him, but the time of Newton was good. Wonderful time, what with all those stol- erm, borrowed Latin words for the scientia.
  27. Linda R.

    Linda R. Fresh Meat

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    :shrug: Don't know about Dan, but for me it runs from the 1944 Education Act to the founding of comprehensives... :garamet:
  28. Fox Mulder

    Fox Mulder Fresh Meat

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    But Dan probably went to a comp and look how he turned out.

    Oh, wait a minute...
  29. Linda R.

    Linda R. Fresh Meat

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    Hmmm, but odds are, so did you... :chris:
  30. RickDeckard

    RickDeckard Socialist

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    I got an A. :D

    I wish I'd stayed at it and studied it at university instead of switching to Computer Science. :(