Showing posts with label student counselling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label student counselling. Show all posts

Friday, January 22, 2010

BST - Bloody Stupid Transparency

There's a new acronym in town. We have the GST, the tax we had to have. Now we have the BST. The Bloody Stupid Transparency we had to have.

I noticed an article in the West that TISC had released statistics describing schools percentages of students that achieved their first preferences for university. The West (in typical media fashion) has then released this information with a bit of spin and gloss.

In this age of the BST, the inference is that if students are getting their first preference then schools are obviously superior in their counselling processes.

It is of course a load of complete nonsense. Students have an expectation of a TER score based on their school scores, outside of the top 5% their actual TER can vary substantially due to scaling (how their class does in comparison to the state) and a host of performance issues. Having a range of scores is a sensible solution to a variable situation.

If high percentages are getting their first preferences (outside of the top 5% where students typically are in courses where none more difficult exist), it actually indicates poor student counselling. Students should be aiming to reach for the sky, not just set their goals on the safe options.

The main issue analysing 1st preference data is that this form of transparency in a competitive market encourages schools to dumb down student expectations to promote the school "1st preference" success and subsequent positive publicity (or prevent negative publicity).

Again the statistics are being presented in a primitive fashion with no real causal effect established indicating whether students are better prepared or should have actually aimed higher.