UK drops grade plan.

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Little John
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Re: UK drops grade plan.

Post by Little John »

UndercoverElephant wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote: Even with Covid-19 I would think students could actually sit for an exam to get a real grade.
That wouldn't have been fair, because they'd have lost their teaching in the crucial months leading up to the exam. Although it probably would have been less bad than the current situation, which is completely unresolvable.

If they take teachers predicted grades (unmoderated) then it is unfair on those pupils whose teachers were realistic instead of optimistic, and also on students from other years.

There is no fair solution now.
Yes there is. Or, at least, one which is least unfair. It should have been the solution from the start.

Simply take the previous, say, five year's cohorts in a given school. Discount any significant outliers in those cohorts. Average the grades achieved for the pupils in those cohorts. Create a correlational table of NC levels and eventual GCSE levels of those cohorts. Then use that data to predict what the kids in the current cohort, given their own prior NC levels, would have got and assign them a grade accordingly.

Clearly, by assigning the current cohort of kids in some schools, 1, 2 or even 3 grades below what kids in their schools got in previous years, the government agency responsible for this fiasco did not use an algorithm even remotely employing the above method.
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UndercoverElephant
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Re: UK drops grade plan.

Post by UndercoverElephant »

Little John wrote:
Simply take the previous, say, five year's cohorts in a given school. Discount any significant outliers in those cohorts. Average the grades achieved for the pupils in those cohorts. Create a correlational table of NC levels and eventual GCSE levels of those cohorts. Then use that data to predict what the kids in the current cohort, given their own prior NC levels, would have got and assign them a grade accordingly.
That is basically what "the algorithm" did.

Clearly, by assigning the current cohort of kids in some schools, 1, 2 or even 3 grades below what kids in their schools got in previous years, the government agency responsible for this fiasco did not use an algorithm even remotely employing the above method.
Erm, that's exactly what it did. It may have done it badly, but that is what it was supposed to be doing.
Little John
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Post by Little John »

Well, then that is the problem. It simply needed doing properly. Just because something has been done piss poorly is not a reason not to do it properly.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

The fact some students stuck at home lost a year's learning is a fact. A sad fact, but a fact that can't be corrected by assigning unearned grades and pretending they have learned what they have not.
They need to sit for an actual exam and get an actual grade then be assigned to where they can move on from wherever each student actually is.
Any other course will make the degrees they eventually receive questionable and not worth the parchment they are printed on.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

clv101 wrote:All this talk about 'fairness'. The conventional exam system isn't 'fair'.
Is it any less fair than a continual assessment regime where students who get help at home from parents or tutors can excel over those kids without the advantages who have to actually learn stuff on their own and commit it to memory for an exam?

How are you going to ensure that the kids of well off parents don't cheat in continual assessment? By making those kids take an exam of course to ensure that they know what they have written.
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Post by clv101 »

kenneal - lagger wrote:
clv101 wrote:All this talk about 'fairness'. The conventional exam system isn't 'fair'.
Is it any less fair than a continual assessment regime where students who get help at home from parents or tutors can excel over those kids without the advantages who have to actually learn stuff on their own and commit it to memory for an exam?

How are you going to ensure that the kids of well off parents don't cheat in continual assessment? By making those kids take an exam of course to ensure that they know what they have written.
Yes, that's my point. Fairness is an illusion, it's a nonsense.

This algorithm wasn't 'fair'.
A final exam at the end of the year isn't 'fair'.
Continual assessment isn't 'fair'.

Guess what, life isn't fair.

Why the outrage at the unfair algorithm but not the unfairness of the exam or of the coursework?
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Post by vtsnowedin »

clv101 wrote: A final exam at the end of the year isn't 'fair'.
What is not fair about it or any exam given anytime in a proctored session?
It merely measures what the student has or has not learned.


Now what material the student is expected to acquire at each grade level is another argument all together. Facts and figures and the scientific method or some indoctrination in some socialist or religious drivel. Do they teach critical thinking and reading between the lines? Got a course in political B.S. detection? Many would find that useful throughout their adult lives.
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Post by Little John »

clv101 wrote:
kenneal - lagger wrote:
clv101 wrote:All this talk about 'fairness'. The conventional exam system isn't 'fair'.
Is it any less fair than a continual assessment regime where students who get help at home from parents or tutors can excel over those kids without the advantages who have to actually learn stuff on their own and commit it to memory for an exam?

How are you going to ensure that the kids of well off parents don't cheat in continual assessment? By making those kids take an exam of course to ensure that they know what they have written.
Yes, that's my point. Fairness is an illusion, it's a nonsense.

This algorithm wasn't 'fair'.
A final exam at the end of the year isn't 'fair'.
Continual assessment isn't 'fair'.

Guess what, life isn't fair.

Why the outrage at the unfair algorithm but not the unfairness of the exam or of the coursework?
That is not correct. Statistically, exams are not unfair. Or, at least, it can be categorically stated they are no less fair than coursework assessment. This is well researched and unarguable. People who do well on coursework tend, on the whole, to do well on exams. Though, there is a slight sex based bias towards coursework based assessment in girls.
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Post by clv101 »

I guess it depends on the definition of fairness, and what attributes we're trying to measure and how close a correlation to those an exam is.

I thought this article made some good points, including:
Young people underperform for a number of reasons. The room is too hot; they have a panic attack; their Dad/Grandad/Dog died (forget mitigating circumstances – as far as exams go there’s a time limit on grief). Maybe they forgot to look on the back page of the exam paper and missed that 15 point question (looking at you, son). Maybe their girlfriend dumped them that week (looking at you, husband). Maybe it was a bad day for hayfever. All these factors conspire to ensure that around 40% of young people are disadvantaged every year not because they weren’t capable of success or because they didn’t know the content, but because they had a bad day. What’s our response? “Them’s the breaks. Tough luck.�

Even once they’ve left the exam hall there are circumstances working against them. Ofqual’s own analysis of the 2017 and 2018 exam papers showed a 50% unreliablity factor in the marking of English and History papers. But no-one changed the marks unless a child had stumped up the cash to pay for it. The fact is that the system relies on things going wrong in order to maintain the appearance of rigour. We can’t have too many passing after all – what would that say about our standards? I’m not sure, but I do know what it says about our morality.
https://debra-kidd.com/2020/08/15/what- ... xams-2020/
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

On the fairness of continual assessment, I once mistakenly put two identical copies of an essay in for marking on the MSc course I was doing. One came back marked 72% the other came back marked 40%. The marker obviously had a good day for one paper and a bad day for the other. The course administrator took an executive decision and recorded the 72% thankfully.

It is one of the reasons why I didn't apply for a lecturing job there as some had urged me to. I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to mark a paper and it seems that I was not the only one.
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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

kenneal - lagger wrote:On the fairness of continual assessment, I once mistakenly put two identical copies of an essay in for marking on the MSc course I was doing. One came back marked 72% the other came back marked 40%. The marker obviously had a good day for one paper and a bad day for the other. The course administrator took an executive decision and recorded the 72% thankfully.
Indeed, and the same issues can apply to essays written under exam conditions.
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Post by stumuz1 »

What about my girls getting higher grades in their A levels because I paid a private tutor to help/assist/gain an upper edge/profit/gain an unfair advantage?... choose your adjective.

The private tutor helped enormously. Telling the girls to only study X% of the syllabus as he was also an ex examiner and knew what areas habitually were covered in the exam.

Life is unfair. I was expelled at 15 and never did any qualifications. I think it stood me in good stead. Every door was closed, the only open doors was the ones I created myself.

It helped to pay for private tutors.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

stumuz1 wrote:
The private tutor helped enormously. Telling the girls to only study X% of the syllabus as he was also an ex examiner and knew what areas habitually were covered in the exam.

.
That is a bit of corruption there that needs to be guarded against.
A private tutor is not by itself wrong if they increase the amount of knowledge absorbed and retained by the student. But inside information on the actual questions on a test should be off limits as they should be closely guarded secrets and not subject to predictable known patterns.
Of course if the schools were any good outside tutors would seldom be needed.
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Post by Lord Beria3 »

Let's put this into perspective.

You leave school but the rest of your life is in the workplace.

What grades you got at GCSE aren't that important.

A hard work ethic, being likable and knowing how to play the game of advancing your career are far more important.

If I had kids, I would encourage them to learn how to make people like them. It's an invaluable skill in life.

Certainly helped me a lot. I used to be a very geeky over-achieving academic type but I've learnt over the years to make people laugh, get to know the right people and impress them and work reasonably hard (but more smartly) to get ahead in life.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

Lord Beria3 wrote:Let's put this into perspective.

You leave school but the rest of your life is in the workplace.

What grades you got at GCSE aren't that important.

A hard work ethic, being likable and knowing how to play the game of advancing your career are far more important.

If I had kids, I would encourage them to learn how to make people like them. It's an invaluable skill in life.

Certainly helped me a lot. I used to be a very geeky over-achieving academic type but I've learnt over the years to make people laugh, get to know the right people and impress them and work reasonably hard (but more smartly) to get ahead in life.
Yes but an engineer needs to know how to do the math and a biologist needs to know how to do a PCR. Personality can only get you so far in many fields. An engineer I know complains that his management job is now mostly people oriented as his university was strictly technical and taught them nothing about how to manage personnel.
While many of us thought PCRs were something to do with personnel computers until covid came in I've been hearing about them for years as my daughters engaged in shop talk on their research projects. I still have a hard time hearing Western without thinking omelet and mentholated without thinking cigarettes. :roll:
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