16 September 2009

Back to School again

There is a little bit of defence going on in the magazine over Media Studies

Apparently Chemistry is easier

Is it? - I downloaded the pdf they provide and would question this, apparently if I question the intelligence of the students taking it instead I will face a problem with Maths, which has an even lower pass mark...

All true - however, take a look at the pdf, and you would think a statistics nut such as Michael Blastland, who is normally very good, would spot something

Let's take a look:

Media Studies had roughly 68,000 students, pass rate of 65.6% - Chemistry 92,000 pass rate: 93.9%

So, wow, Chemistry is obviously statistically easier according to this data - they are certainly comparable in size

Except for one thing, which a pure look at statistics would never notice (perhaps the whole point of this exercise) - Chemistry is not 'Chemistry' - you need to look at the human factors here, the Chemistry that the vast majority of us study is in fact what is now called 'science' with an uptake of 493,000 and 'additional science' with 397,000 (that's the old double award - which sadly only had 15,000 entrants and a pass rate of over 80%)

And so the pass rate is actually:
Media 65.6%
Additional Science: 62% (approx)
Science: 60% (approx)

Ah...so that's nearly 900 thousand students with a lower pass rate than Media

Now, no prizes for guessing why the single subjects - all studied by roughly 100,000 students, were at the very top?

Yes that's right, individual sciences are only taken by the best students and the best schools (mine didn't even offer it, but then it didn't offer Media either)
So let us add those extra 95,000 or so students (I will assume they all did three, which is why the figures are so close) who didn't do 'pleb science' as I once heard it called

Average students = 94,000
Average pass rate = 93% roughly
Meaning 87,500 students passed, give or take

Meanwhile 896,000 took the other versions of science, with an average pass rate of 61%

That's 546,500 passes

Add 87,500 = 634,000 passes out of 990,000

= 64.04% with even the best and brightest included...

That's below PE and just above Business Studies

It is of course, virtually impossible to identify if Media is a doss subject just from the figures - the pass rate does not indicate that it is particularly easy, but it says nothing about the way it is taught, who takes it, and of what use it is - my only experience of it was at A-level where my school mates (none top students) all treated it as a doss (and it looked one) but they then all failed the exam...so I don't know, having never studied it, but regardless I felt it misleading to claim that Chemistry was somehow comparable without factoring in the general science qualifications

But that said, what we can see is that Maths and Science generally have a lower pass rate, as does English (but not Eng.Lit) - which most likely shows that the compulsory subjects are dragged down by the dimwits forced to do them

Instead, to compare Media we must look at it in relation to other optional subjects, and subjects with a similar take-up - such as Music, which has a pass rate of about 77% - from that we can assume that Media is far harder (a much fairer argument than Chemistry, although just as flawed)

But of course, we can prove nothing because we don't know why Media gets such a low pass rate - whether it's hard or easy and the students are just thick - we just can't tell without the variables

I have however found the stats I needed for my earlier post on History!! - History second only to DT and beating it's nearest rivals (Geography) by 20,000 students


I also meant to comment on this feature on ties a little while ago but never got round to it

For one, the ideas of 'Superfat' and 'Bonsai' ties was around nearly 2 decades ago, when I was at primary school, even though I have never encountered these particular labels before, so it's not news

A bit like the idiot woman who blamed Chris Moyles (on air for a whole five years) for inventing the use of the word 'gay' as a pejorative (it's somewhere in the archives)

Truth is, kids need to rebel and you'll never get them to all do up the silly things properly, except perhaps at the very poshest private schools

And why shouldn't they rebel? - I took the line that there was no sensible reason to wear one, and I still take it now - there isn't, the concept of 'smart' never appealed to me as a child and it still doesn't - it's a social construct from the 19th century

I do of course, conform for job interviews and the like - because let's face it, 1) I'm a hypocrite and 2) there's also economic benefits to conforming in that instance - there is none in the school environment - you are forced to conform to an arbitrary dress code in a place where you have to go (often against your childish will) - it is fascism incarnate

I don't say that as an anarchist or anything, I'm not saying it's wrong (or right) but I think school is very comparable to the authoritarian state - the whole concept encourages rebellion, not respect (which probably is what makes teachers jobs so horrible, but that's another argument)

So in short, you won't solve the tie problem because they'll rebel in some other way, unless you give them a reason to wear something (such as a lab coat or hard hat) they won't respect it - that's a fairly basic bit of human nature

And let's examine the point of a tie - what is the point of a tie?

from wikipedia:

The necktie traces back to the time of Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) when Croatian mercenaries from the Military Frontier in French service, wearing their traditional small, knotted neckerchiefs, aroused the interest of the Parisians. Due to the slight difference between the Croatian word for Croats, Hrvati, and the French word, Croates, the garment gained the name "Cravat". The new article of clothing started a fashion craze in Europe where both men and women wore pieces of fabric around their necks. In the late seventeenth century, the men wore lace cravats that took a large amount of time and effort to arrange. These cravats were often tied in place by cravat strings, arranged neatly and tied in a bow.
So basically they are a fashion article from the 17th century French - adopted by the vain Georgians like pantaloons and the idiotic powdered wigs

Meanwhile, fairly obviously it evolved as the lower classes mimicked their betters during the 19th century - the idea of being 'smart' comes from looking as though you aren't working in a mine:

The industrial revolution created a need for neckwear that was easy to put on, comfortable and would last an entire workday. The modern necktie, as is still worn by millions of men today, was born. It was long, thin and easy to knot and it didn’t come undone.
So why do we still wear these pointless things? It's just an archaic piece of fashion that really should have gone out a century ago - all fashion is pointless to me, so I guess I'm more interested in why we think children 'should' wear them

Because it's traditional no doubt...

...in that case fetch me my pantaloons!

1 comment:

  1. Nice stats - maybe you should replace the beeboid Blastland?