Dont Blame The Students

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Originally an entry in Colins Blog, now one of the random writings.

2006/08/15 Don't blame the students ...

Students today aren't stupid. They can see that good grades are important, and will make choices they see as giving them the best shot at obtaining them.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says UK schools are failing to produce an adequate number of scientists. The number of A-level students taking physics has decreased by 56% in 20 years.

Why? Maybe, just maybe it's because


Or at least, it's thought by students to be harder than the other options. Science and mathematics are now unattractive subjects for students because it appears easier to get good grades in "softer" subjects. Whether or not this is true doesn't matter. Students find science and mathematics hard, so they choose what they see as easier options.

At one time a school would still encourage able students to study the hard sciences, because to do otherwise would be to "let themselves down." What motivation is there for that attitude when lower students grades will lead to poorer results in the League Tables of which the Government is so fond?

School officials say that increasing the number of scientists and making science "a more attractive option" for students is a top priority. In today's society, "Immediate Return" is the name of the game. Attractiveness of science and mathematics will only increase when it's just as hard to get good grades in other subjects.

The same is true in computing ... At least the up side to all this is that those who do go on and study maths and science are more likely to find good jobs, provided they learn to negotiate.

Hmm. What subject covers that?

An interesting discussion of "What's your A-level worth" can be found here:



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