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Brock
1375590.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:14 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:

I try to avoid ever mentioning Robert Halfon MP (Con, Harlow), who is Chair of the Education Select Committee. I don't really know how to pronounce his surname


Wikipedia says /ˈhælfɒn/, and that's how I've always heard it pronounced. (Not as in "half-on and half-off"!)

 
crissdee
1375591.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:24 am Reply with quote

Speaking as someone without the merest ghost of a dog in the fight, isn't this all another inevitable result of introducing the "league tables" for schools?

As I think I have said before, when I was at school, the only motivation of a good school was to give their pupils the best education they could. Now, when budgets will inevitably hang on how "good" your school is, with exam passes/grades being the metric on which the matter is judged, it seems that pupil's actual needs and/or abilities are being left behind in the scramble to climb the table.

 
suze
1375594.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:29 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
Wikipedia says /ˈhælfɒn/, and that's how I've always heard it pronounced. (Not as in "half-on and half-off"!)


Thanks Brock. I've managed to find film of Krishnan Guru-Murthy introducing Mr Halfon and he pronounces the name as you suggest, so now I know.

Mr Halfon is Jewish and the name is Hebrew, so that pronunciation is historically correct - but not everyone pronounces their own name historically correctly. How Heston Blumenthal (also Jewish, fwiw) arrived at /θɔ:l/ I have no clue, although he doesn't go out of his way to correct /tɑ:l/.


crissdee wrote:
Speaking as someone without the merest ghost of a dog in the fight, isn't this all another inevitable result of introducing the "league tables" for schools?

As I think I have said before, when I was at school, the only motivation of a good school was to give their pupils the best education they could. Now, when budgets will inevitably hang on how "good" your school is, with exam passes/grades being the metric on which the matter is judged, it seems that pupil's actual needs and/or abilities are being left behind in the scramble to climb the table.


The good news here is that league tables were suspended for last year. Unless I missed it we haven't yet been told in so many words that they are suspended for this year too, but I would expect them to be,

For league tables we can if we want to blame the Conservative Party, and to a certain extent the media (especially but not only the Daily Telegraph).

But we must also look at employers who insist that job applicants must have this grade in this and that grade in that before they can be considered, and "computer says no" otherwise.

The US doesn't have an equivalent to GCSEs at all, while it sort of has an equivalent to A levels but it is not the be all and end all. While I certainly don't hold up the US as an example of how to run a country, it seems to work for them.

We could do that here, but that would need employers to show a bit more imagination than they appear willing to, and it would need politicians to accept that they don't actually have to micro-manage education. I'm not holding my breath on either count.

 
barbados
1375597.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:41 am Reply with quote

Quote:
/θɔ:l/

That looks like an entry from the Elon Musk book of baby names :)

 
Jenny
1375599.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:43 am Reply with quote

At GCSE level (in English at any rate) wouldn't there be a case for temporarily going back to the period when pupils presented a coursework folder, some of which had to be done under classroom controlled conditions, for external examiners to mark?

 
suze
1375606.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:53 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Quote:
/θɔ:l/

That looks like an entry from the Elon Musk book of baby names :)


That made me do an actual LOL! I know that Brock understands IPA, but for anyone who doesn't, Mr Blumenthal pronounces his surname "thawl". That last syllable rhymes with ball, and its first sound is the one in thing.

In German and Yiddish it would be "tahl" ie rhymes with Carl if you have a non-rhotic accent. Mr Blumenthal's name is often pronounced thus and he doesn't bother to correct it, but it's not how he pronounces it himself.


Jenny wrote:
At GCSE level (in English at any rate) wouldn't there be a case for temporarily going back to the period when pupils presented a coursework folder, some of which had to be done under classroom controlled conditions, for external examiners to mark?


There isn't time to hire all the external examiners that would be needed for that, or indeed for them to do the work. What's more, it's probably politically impossible while Michael Gove is in the Cabinet, since he thought it was the worst system ever.

But replace external with internal, and it's more or less what we'll be doing. This year's approach is better than last year's - subject to the unanswerable question which I note above - but if the government hadn't spent so long dithering and faffing it could have done a lot better.

 
barbados
1375608.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 10:58 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
barbados wrote:
Quote:
/θɔ:l/

That looks like an entry from the Elon Musk book of baby names :)


That made me do an actual LOL!

In that case, my work here is done :)

On a side note, do you have your garden party booked for the 30th March yet?
We had phone calls on Monday asking when the grandchildren could come round - the younger of them promising to keep their legs crossed so they don’t need to come in to use the loo :)

 
suze
1375609.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:04 am Reply with quote

We don't actually have it booked yet, and it will probably be in Olney rather than in Rochester. It's just more convenient, and their house has a downstairs bathroom which gets around that issue as well as it can be gotten around.

But you may take it that the matter will be on the agenda when next we speak with Elz.

 
Jenny
1375615.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:24 am Reply with quote

I'm counting ahead - three weeks until the second shot and then two weeks to ensure proper protection, then grandchildren ahoy! My son and daughter in law have already had both their shots, so it's going to be pretty safe I think.

 
Jenny
1375616.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:36 am Reply with quote

My experience when I was both a teacher and an examiner (adult ed as a teacher, mind you, so it might be different from the experience of teachers in secondary schools) during the period of coursework-only GCSEs was that it was both positive in terms of student work and checkable. I had several experiences where it was clear to me that work that was supposed to be done under classroom controlled conditions was in fact not controlled at all, and there were two centres where I called in the entire scripts rather than the selection and re-marked the lot. There were also schools where moderation had either not been done at all or done very badly, and adjustments had to be made.

 
suze
1375622.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:49 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
That is the problem isn’t it?
The algorithm is almost Gove-like, it is the correct approach, it’s just executed poorly - mainly because it will give losers as well as winners, and the losers shout the loudest.


Just to come back to this point, because I fear that I missed it earlier.

It's a fair point, but do you remember "no deal is better than a bad deal"? No algorithm is similarly better than a bad algorithm.

That the algorithm was bad is entirely Mr Williamson's fault. if he didn't understand it, then we must have a SecEd who does. Even after several professional statisticians had written papers - published via Twitter for speed - in which they set out the math to show that the algorithm wouldn't work, Mr Williamson insisted that he knew better. He continued to insist that he knew better until several days after the results appeared.


Jenny wrote:
I had several experiences where it was clear to me that work that was supposed to be done under classroom controlled conditions was in fact not controlled at all, and there were two centres where I called in the entire scripts rather than the selection and re-marked the lot. There were also schools where moderation had either not been done at all or done very badly, and adjustments had to be made.


We could do that again, but it doesn't fit with the government's ideology which says that any sector which tends to vote Labour cannot be trusted.

If you take Mr Williamson's pronouncements at face value, he wants to depart from that dogma. But for one thing, and as with all members of the present government, my immediate assumption when he speaks is that he's lying. For another thing, the Daily Mail and the like won't let him do it even if he really does want to.


Moving away from education, it is widely expected that the furlough scheme will be extended yet again in next year's budget. Earlier in the week the Daily Express was campaigning against that, and saying that it must end for ever in April. That campaign has stopped abruptly. Did the Editor get a late night visit?

 
Leith
1375630.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:26 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
I know the Westminster government have chose a 5 week interval for their changes, but has anyone explained why? Other than a vague "It's long enough" quote that doesn't really explain anything, obvs.

To my knowledge, the Government haven't yet been specific about what their data pre-conditions are to authorize step transition, but the road map seems to emphasize monitoring the impacts on hospital admission trends rather than case number trends (still the herd-immunity mentality in evidence, I fear). You probably do need four weeks to detect policy impact on hospital figures, I reckon.

 
Brock
1375633.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:36 pm Reply with quote

Leith wrote:
dr.bob wrote:
I know the Westminster government have chose a 5 week interval for their changes, but has anyone explained why? Other than a vague "It's long enough" quote that doesn't really explain anything, obvs.

To my knowledge, the Government haven't yet been specific about what their data pre-conditions are to authorize step transition


They have four tests, as I've already stated:



  • The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

  • Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

  • Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

 
Leith
1375634.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:39 pm Reply with quote

Yes, I'm well aware of those. They're hardly what I'd call 'specific'.

 
Brock
1375635.  Thu Feb 25, 2021 2:56 pm Reply with quote

Well, that's all they've said. I can't really see how the first one is a "test" at all - I presume the vaccine deployment programme will continue irrespective of the level of infection.

Nor can I see how the second is a "test" of the effect of relaxing restrictions - it's a test of how well the vaccines work. And the fourth is by definition unknowable.

So the third test - hospitalizations - seems to be the only test by which the effect of each step will be assessed.

 

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