Obsession with results in education

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by tom66, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. tom66

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
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    This is really getting on my nerves.

    The obsession with results on exams.

    I asked a question in Electronics; I was simply told "all you need to know is this for the exam." And all teachers seem to do this. It's really annyoing and is just preparing me for an exam and how to beat it, not how to actually apply something.
     
  2. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    College level?
     
  3. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    I was really fortunate and went to universities and schools where that was almost never said. In fact, asking what was going to be on an exam was frowned upon. It was not unusual that we got questions to reason out and solve that had not been presented in class. We also did not evaluate our professors, unless an issue rose to the level of a complaint.

    That has changed. The last few years, I have volunteered at a local college (not a major university). We absolutely cannot ask a question on an exam, if it and the solution were not presented in class. We have pre-exam reviews where the questions that are going to be on the exam are "reviewed." About half of the class is expected to get A's and the rest get B's. C's are are rare, maybe one out of 30 students. Faculty are evaluated by students regularly.

    Those changes do not prevent teaching, but they do present a challenge. It is still easy to tell who the best students are; it is just more difficult to give recognition. The good news/bad news is that most students do some post-graduate training or take an internship. That is when one hopes they learn problem solving. You can also help your better students get better post-graduate opportunities.

    As students evaluate universities, I think it is important for them to review what the graduates do, not just how much the students like it.

    John
     
  4. tom66

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
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    Well, college in the US is different to the UK, but yep. College is after secondary school but is optional and government funded.

    I agree. It annoys me when people in my class say, "well, instead of doing it this way, would it be okay to do it this way on the exam?" It's not applying anything - it's just trying to find the solutions.

    A lot of students do this. A challenge that requires slightly different knowledge than has been taught - application of multiple pieces of knowledge - gets a complaint ("oh well you didn't teach us that we could combine a low pass and high pass filter" etc.)

    We get a speciem paper and at least two mock papers before the real exam and the exam boards actively encourage it.

    I suppose the problem is marks mean more than skills. You can know all the theory - ohms law, filters, op-amps, etc. but unless you can actually creatively apply this it's useless.
     
  5. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Unfortunately your professors know its not what you know its who you know. Thats why their teaching. You'll find out in many complex fields the teachers are 3 pages ahead of the students. So its not uncommon for them to say this is what you need to know on the exam. With embedded electronics you can study full time for your 4-6 year colledge term and still be a total newb in the real world. I've found you have to want it with this stuff. Thats why there are so many hobbiest that know more then guys with degree's working for boat loads of cash.
     
  6. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    I did the 3month schooling for my 4th year electrical last year (oldest in class by a large margin).

    The electronics component had been drastically condensed, so the instructor flew through his material. All the blank looks where met with 'that's all you need to know for the test'. During breaks I heard everyone complaining, but I had to support the instructor because of the circumstance and obvious pressure he was under. I would venture that 90% of the class never studied the material beyond school hours.

    The ability of an instructor makes a huge difference.
     
  7. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    When I was duing instructor duty (almost 30 years ago), I've heard students ask "Is that going to be on the test".

    I've seen statistics class using excel being offered and the professor didn't know anything about excel.

    It works both ways. Yes, when the consumer is paying for a class they should get what the sylabus and course descriptions state, but they also must not be spoon fed the test.

    The professor-student dialog might be history. It's becoming more student-web forums dialog to supplement the failings of the professor-student dialog.

    But that is my opinion from the years of reading forums.
     
  8. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    I was being pestered by a friends kid (he was beating me in a video game) so I told him to go do his homework.

    He said it was done (Yeah right! I used that line more times than minutes youve been alive). But it was true. The school has students do their home-work IN SCHOOL!

    Apparently kids getting too fat these days, and families first crap has made many schools decide that school should end at the end of the school day. SO, homework is done at school.

    That way kids can run, jump, and exercise.. Exercise their video game characters!

    Why are people so dense these days?

    Why not make the kids exercise at school, where they can be watched and cared for, and make them do home-work AT HOME!?

    Stupid.

    Dumb.

    Plain sTUPID!

    sorry..

    the reason for it is to raise the kids grades. PLain and simple. But BOT FOR THE KIDS! Teachers and schools dont get funding with poor (average) scoring schools. Teaching for the money, not the future.

    Homework is a very under-done thing. Especially these days. Both parents (if there are 2) working, drinking, shooting drugs, smoking crack, and what not (I live in Baltimore ;) )

    But still, I guess the kids will have better marks to get into better schools and get a job and blah blah blah, but the thing is, the curve is not going to change.

    Its crap..weather you ask me or not.
     
  9. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    The problem with all these changes to "improve" the kids, is the simple fact that the bell curve isn't going to go away unless you switch to pass/fail, and ignore the errors of those that fail.

    There are jobs that make putting tape on the end of shoelaces seem like exciting work, and attract employees that actually enjoy it.

    If 100% of the population was the same, which is what the schools seem to think, the "crap jobs that need to be done" wouldn't get done with any sort of enthusiasm.
     
  10. jpanhalt

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
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    Years ago, as the US was going another one of the endless series of new management theories (e.g., Deming, continuous quality improvement, re-engineering, re-invention, ad nauseam), many industries were examining who their "internal" and "external" customers were. The goal being, of course, to better serve the customer.

    That question was presented to schools and educators. What's the answer? Who are the customers of our eduction system? Are they the students, the parents, the taxpayers, industry, something else?

    Is the customer the one who pays the money or the one who gets benefit from the goods produced? Some people defined customer as the person paying. That made the parent/student (or taxpayer) the customer. Schools today seem to reflect a need to pander to that customer.

    I think the flaw is the simplistic vendor customer analysis. It was like applying the vendor customer model to raising children. But then, who is to argue with someone in a three-pierce suit or black dress and a briefcase?

    John
     
  11. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    I think this is a result of the newage colleges springing up all over the place combined with the money the gov. is giving people to goto school. Turns out many of these schools are total scams and many offer electronics coarses. We had a local one here that just got busted because they basically bleed the total $5k from each student and extended the class by 4 weeks to bill the gov. for teaching. The were promised jobs after the coarse and none of that came to be. Guys in the classes said the instructors would watch TV and BS'd their way through the coarse. I also had another friend who paid like $15k to some school to teach him systems and networking. I was already in the field from experience and when he graduated he was no where close to even being a basic IT guy. Could barely email. I think hte most technical they got was to install an OS. So thats my take on a lot of it. Too many scam schools out their. When I finally go I'm only going to a state university.
     
  12. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007
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    There's a business around here, and it may be a franchise, that promises "no pass no pay" for an electricians license. One of my students took the class, and he passed the state test. Only problem is he couldn't correctly wire up a 3 way switch. When he came to me to see what he would be getting as far as an education, he was totally amazed that the course was 16 months long.

    He said the other class was only 4 weekends, I asked him what he thought he was capable of, then showed him what another student was actually doing. He changed his tune, admitting he apparently couldn't do much.
    All that class taught him was how to look up answers and work a little Ohms Law.
    I told him that he was in the same situation, basically, as a blind man with a drivers license. He spent his time wisely in my class and I was able to place him with a company that did a lot of control wiring for liquid transfer systems. He calls me from time to time with questions, which I am happy to help with. I usually don't just give him the answer, but make him think " how do you think it should work" and by him talking out loud he usually answers the question himself. We prepare students to become "entry level"
    electricians, and I don't see how any school can "promise" anyone a job.
    I have a pretty decent placement rate, even had 2 students start their own
    business, which I tried to advise against. Starting your own business is hard enough for a seasoned electrician. They still have the business after 3 years but both have part time jobs in other areas.
    Maybe they'll hit the big time and not forget the "Old Man"
     
  13. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Way to go gerty! Thats a pretty amazing thing. Not many humans have the patience to be good teachers, and many with the patience, dont have the skill.

    I have not forgotten my best teachers, so I can guarantee they wont forget you.
     
  14. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007
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    @ retched Thank you, nor have I forgotten my Instructor.
    Bob Gresty was his name and it was in 1965. I had 2 others before him, one was only interested in how much class materials he could steal for his contracting business, the other didn't have a clue and didn't last a month.
    As for patience, that gets pretty thin sometimes. I have learned to tell a decent student from one that's there because mommy said " go to school or get a job".
    Or the student that was instructed by the Judge "what's it gonna be,
    jail or school". The latter rarely makes it, had one get close, but as soon as he
    graduated from "drug court" he went down the tubes. His arresting officer is a good friend of mine and came to visit one day( we fixed his blue lights on his patrol car). As soon as he saw him there he predicted what would happen.
    Apparently he has learned how to read people also.
    Luckily the Judge gets the results from class and isn't giving that option nearly as much as he first did.
     
  15. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Down here lots of the electricians scam people. They offer jobs and training for like $4 an hour and offer to train you to pass you test and get your license in 6 months. But like I said its a scam, their just lookingfor people with full size trucks to work for $4 an hour. They do the same thing with airconditioners here too. Thats a huge biz down here.
     
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