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Topic: Re: Dreadful situation!!
Replies: 1   Last Post: Aug 2, 1996 6:31 PM

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Rex Boggs

Posts: 80
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Dreadful situation!!
Posted: Aug 2, 1996 6:31 PM
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> This really sounds dreadful!! Why not just hire competent teachers who can
> make their own judgments without the aid of a panel?


Because the ratings that are assigned are used to determine who is
accepted for a limited number of university places. We need
comparability between students doing Maths C in Mt Isa High School in
the far west and in Brisbane Grammar School, not just between Mr Smith
in Room A4 and Mr Brown in Room A5. Whatever system you propose to
replace our 'dreadful' system has to meet this objective, and do it in a
way that is deemed to be fair to all.

The only alternative that I know of is an external exam in Maths C taken
by every Maths C student in the state on exactly the same day. This
will ensure comparability, but, in my opinion, at a cost to good
education. Queensland is trying to find an alternative.

The system in Queensland shows that experienced competent teachers don't
automatically develop a common understanding of standards. And in many
small isolated schools in Queensland, the teachers may not be that
experienced, and have no one in their school to turn to for assistance.


> As for a panel changing grades, this is a rape of the academic system. For
> shame!


Again, any alternative must ensure comparability. In the interests of
brevity in my original posting, I didn't explain the system fully. I
will expand on it now.

Our senior courses run for two years. A 'submission' of assessment
items, marking schemes and sample student work is sent to a panel of
teachers in the district at the end of year 11. The submission is
reviewed by the panel and commented upon. If the submission has
problems (eg standards too high or too low) an expert teacher is
available to visit the school (at their request) to assist.

The chair of the panel, also a practicing teacher, is available by phone
or fax at all times. If a school isn't sure about their assessment,
they can fax an exam to the panel chair for comment before giving it to
the students. About 2 months before the end of year 12, the school
makes another submission to the panel. This submission includes all
assessment and marking schemes, as well as the work of specific
students, including the best student, the lowest A, the lowest B, the
lowest C, and so on.

The panel decides if the standard of the assessment package is
comparable to that of other Maths C classes in the state. The panel may
decide that the bottom B student for example has not met the standards
for a B, and will recommend a change to a high C. The school can accept
the panel's recommendation, or negotiate with the panel chair, if they
disagree with the panel's suggestion. There are still six weeks of the
course remaining at this stage, so that student who was awarded a high C
by the panel still has an opportunity to improve their result. The
student's final exam could be faxed to the panel chair for a decision.

On top of all of this is a state panel, also consisting of practising
teachers, which monitors what happens in the districts. They also act
as a 'court of appeal' if a school and a panel aren't able to reach
agreement.

The reason I have written at such length is to dispel the notion that a
panel is some sort of 'star chamber' that passes judgement with ringing
finality. There is a consultation process going on continually over
the duration of the two year course.

Cheers

Rex





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