Showing posts with label nCOS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nCOS. Show all posts

Thursday, November 26, 2009

NCOS and consolidation of knowledge.

One criticism of senior school and mathematics in general is the lack of consolidation of topics - especially when the course is prescribed as is the case with NCOS. Funnily enough, the NCOS has brought about an opportunity for consolidation that did not exist under the old courses.

The new courses allow for repeating of yr 11 subjects - which makes sense under an outcomes approach where learning speed is not being measured, just knowledge and skills gained (this is an issue in itself that needs investigating if TEE scores are to remain a predictor of university success).

Students that cannot withstand the pace of the course in year 11 have in year 12 the option of consolidating (by repeating the course), remediating (by completing a lower course) or advancing to the next course. This approach allows teachers to make more aggressive subject selection recommendations in year 11 that promotes striving for excellence without fear of being locked into advancing and failing the yr 12 course. The recent trend of conservative subject selection could be broken!

For example, a student doing yr 11 3A MAT has the option in year 12 of doing 2C (remediating) 3A (repeating) or 3C (advancing).

I doubt this was the original intent (in other subjects teachers must teach another context - but only one context really exists in maths/science courses).

I fail to see the issue in repeating or remediating although I know some humanities teachers think it unfair - students that repeat will have the option to gain a deeper understanding at some level and a further opportunity to apply their skills - having a second bite at the cherry.

It will be interesting to see if the old adage that 'repeaters don't succeed' will bear true next year. For the lazy student - repeating/remediating will not work, but for those that have good work ethic but need more time logic says they should succeed (more time better results!).

My prediction is that (when counselled and supported correctly) repeaters and remediators will do far better than advancers and scaling will be applied to these students (compared to advancing students) in future years. It will be interesting to see if the scaling factor of 10% between 3AB and 3CD will be enough to compensate (I can't see how having two years to master a course can't cause better than a 10% increase in low/mid performing students between the two groups). The scaling may already be heavier for repeaters - but I'm not aware of it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Don't forget to vote in the new poll!

There's a poll on the right hand side asking how we found the new courses - are they better than the ones they replaced?

For parents who are interested:

The harder parts of Intro Calc / G&T / Applic / Calculus (for strong science/maths/engineering bound uni students) was replaced by 3ABCD MAS (with some changes)
The easier parts of Intro Calc / G&T / Applic / Calculus (for capable science/maths/engineering bound uni students) was replaced by 3ABCD MAT (with some changes)
Foundations / Discrete (for capable Uni bound students) is now 2CD 3AB MAT
Foundations / Discrete (for weak Uni bound students) is now 2ABCD MAT
MIPS /Modelling (for students needing some maths - TAFE/Uni bound) is now 1DE2AB MAT
MIPS /Modelling (for remedial maths students - work or TAFE bound) is now 1BCDE MAT
No real maths course under old system (for Ed support or struggling maths students) is now PA PB 1A MAT

Now don't forget to vote on the left!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Preparing graduate teachers for TEE exams

In Perth, we have the Tertiary Entrance Exams (TEE). This is a time of stress for new teachers and students alike. If you are a graduate teacher naturally you start to question whether you have done enough to get your students over the line. I covered the yr 12 Discrete course for five students this year (quite a soft entrance to teaching university bound students), but like most teachers we all want our students to succeed and get a good TER(Tertiary Entrance Ranking - score between 1 & 100 derived from scaled TEE exams) for 'front door' university entry.

[I can hear teachers in Perth saying there are no more TEE exams with the new courses of study(NCOS), but there are still external exams at the end of the final school year and it is the paradigm that we are most familiar with.]

Nonetheless graduate teachers can at this time feel the stress of performance as failure may relegate them to lesser classes for some time. It's probably a good time to give graduate teachers a day of real PD or reflection (preferably with access or guidance from a senior staff member) to gather themselves and prepare materials for TEE students for their run home. I hope when graduate teachers put their hand up they will be listened to; and graduates that are 'low profile' are being monitored and looked after.

We've been lucky in that our Discrete group of students have worked hard and agreed to meet before school regularly to complete old TEE questions and have used the great Saddler texts that have been around a long while (that include constant revision miscellaneous exercises). It's also great that the TEE Discrete course is underdone in the amount of required content in comparison to yr 11 preparatory (foundations) course. Oh, as an old course - it's the second last year it will be run and examined for university entry.

Which leads to the problems of the new year 11 2009 where we are running semesterised 1b,1c,2a,2b,2c,2d,3a MAT, 3b MAT, 3a MAS, 3b MAS courses which are 10 new courses of study, no texts available, no written class assessment and limited sample exam material. If I was a first year graduate falling into year 11 (rather than my soft entry yr12 Discrete course with a plethora of materials/experience of teachers/known student pitfalls/existing performance levels) I would be more concerned. Add to that learning how to use and teach with the new CAS calculators effectively.. it adds another layer of difficulty - especially if the calculators themselves are meant to increase the non-computational difficulty of the courses.

Click here to visit the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) for more information about tertiary entrance exams in WA.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Professional Development

Now, I'm all for getting better at my craft. Let's get serious though, first day back professional development ("PD") is crap. I've yet to go to a good one.

It starts with a lecture from the principal outlining the latest decrease in conditions. Thereafter comes the mutual backslapping over a programme that was successful (affecting two kids in the school - and the kids on investigation thought the programme was crap). Then we talk about a document outlining what we are thinking about doing two years after the programme instigator intends to leave (crap.. crap.. crap..).

Then we might get some rehash of a teaching strategy that has worked in some far flung school in southern Africa with very little to do with our cohort and is therefore crap. Followed by a lunch (the highlight of the day) which you have to be careful not to eat enough to stem your hunger or face the wrath of the eating police tut-tutting your greediness (I shan't make the obvious joke here).

If you manage to get through all that and not die of terminal boredom you might glean a good minute and a half of usable content. Whilst doing this we sit there thinking (and some of us are smart enough to actually be doing) about planning for next year's courses of study.

oh crap!