Episcopus, Start your Latin A Level before it's too late

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Episcopus, Start your Latin A Level before it's too late

Post by bingley » Tue Jun 15, 2004 9:26 am

Apparently the AQA examinations board is dropping Latin & Greek as subjects from 2006:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/educ ... 797821.stm

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Post by benissimus » Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:51 am

:evil:
flebile nescio quid queritur lyra, flebile lingua murmurat exanimis, respondent flebile ripae

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Post by Emma_85 » Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:45 pm

This is really bad news, seriously. Only one board offering Latin and Greek...
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Post by Episcopus » Tue Jun 15, 2004 3:42 pm

hey bingley, your concern and notification thereof is appreciated, respect :wink:

Did our dear whiteoctave once say them to be the best examination board? How are the lexica? I hope it's better than the 2.5 aqa word list :P

Hate mail would be going their way, if I cared.

I'm glad they are out of the frame, because the other oxford people have more complex requirements. Plus I knew it was going downhill when AQA took out the English to Latin a few years ago because only 5 people out of like 3000 did it! Mind you, my exams a week or two ago were not much better, I did the english to latin (45 minutes) in 5 minutes. It was too easy to the extent that I missed out and read badly the English in a wave of complacency :? I was slightly angry because they were just out of context sentences, not a passage as expected. Every one is going downhill. Greek and Latin does not belong in the terrible schools of these days, it belongs in your domicile at 4 am by candle light.

It's odd that a topic of this nature should come up today, because it was only yesterday that I decided not to do at all Latin to A Level and not to begin Greek at all (while listening to Janet Jackson runaway).

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Post by 1%homeless » Tue Jun 15, 2004 9:09 pm

Umm... I don't know school politics in the UK, so what are the implications of this? Anybody saying Classics is thriving is in real denial...

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Post by ricelius » Tue Jun 15, 2004 9:35 pm

Greek and Latin does not belong in the terrible schools of these days, it belongs in your domicile at 4 am by candle light.
I generally have the impression that Latin (and Greek) are being made less and less important by the school system. For instance, in Danish high school (upper secondary school), you choose whether you want to study primarily languages or maths and sciences. In the old days, if you wanted to study languages, you had to know a bit of Latin in order to enroll, and the first year of high school you'd learn even more Latin. Then they dropped the requirement that students know Latin before enrolling and changed the system so that they'd start from scratch the first year; basically, the test that you had to pass just to be accepted into high school was now the exam you took after the first year of school. In a few years the requirement that students learn Latin will disappear entirely. On a similar note, in the old days you had to know basic Latin in order to practice as a physician or dentist. That requirement was dropped as well.

Today I took the exam language students take after their first year (I'm not a language student, but I like like Latin :)), and I have to say, I'm not impressed. The exam is oral; you get a text (I had 10 lines from De Bello Gallico), get 20 minutes of preparation (where you can bring grammars, notes, dictionaries). The examination itself is 20 minutes as well; first you have to read the text aloud, then translate it, grammatically analyze it, and finally talk about the culture and affairs brought up by the text (e.g. who was Caesar? What was going on in Rome at the time? What was he doing in Gaul? etc.) No text at the exam is unknown; you've been reading everything during the year. So nothing new there, all the texts have been analyzed in class. All right, I did my reading aloud (with several errors that I noticed myself), I did my translation (blatantly ignoring Caesar's use of present tense and changing everything to perfect until my teacher commented on that), I analyzed the text (Caesar isn't difficult if you know your ablatives absolute), and we talked a bit about Caesar and Gaul and Vercingetorix. The grade I got -- the equivalent of an American "A+". I should add that in Denmark that grade is practically never given; it is reserved for the extremely convincing and independent performance; mine was neither. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being ungrateful or anything, I'm actually very happy. But I can't help thinking, if what I did was that good, then, for the love of God, the average "B" student must be awful (I studied it on my own, not at school; so I haven't actually seen students at the same level).

Sorry for my rant; I guess it was one of the typical, "what is this world coming to" :cry: My point is, the state of affairs is very sad indeed in Denmark as well.

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Post by Episcopus » Tue Jun 15, 2004 9:54 pm

That's an interesting insight; I fear the situation in U.K. is worse however. You no longer have to grammatically analyse anything. Still this is better as there is more influence (not saying there's a great influence, just more than of old) on learning it through exposure as they do with modern languages. The bad thing is you have to analyse poetry in terms of effects and techniques which is boring and pointless, it does not help language. Poems are the worst.

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Post by klewlis » Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:00 pm

At least you guys can even still take latin and greek at all in school! We do not even have that option. :( NO ONE in canada learns latin and greek except if they decide to do it on their own, or are homeschooled. It's very sad.

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Post by ricelius » Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:26 pm

I guess I should feel privileged...



*feeling privileged*

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Post by Michaelyus » Wed Jun 16, 2004 5:04 pm

HOW---WHAT--HUH--OH MY DAYS--BUT--!??!?!?!?!

***NEARLY FAINTING***

:cry: :cry: :cry: :( :( :x :x

***OUTRAGE***

Hōs exsecror! Qui contumelia!
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Post by Democritus » Wed Jun 16, 2004 6:01 pm

ricelius wrote:Sorry for my rant; I guess it was one of the typical, "what is this world coming to" :cry: My point is, the state of affairs is very sad indeed in Denmark as well.
How are things in the rest of the curriculum? Are priorities shifting to other subjects? For example, are the schools encouraging students to spend more time studying math and the sciences? Or is the entire curruculum being watered down, in your opinion?

Are the secondary schools teaching Asian languages? (Chinese, Japanese?)

Just curious.

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Post by ricelius » Wed Jun 16, 2004 6:21 pm

How are things in the rest of the curriculum? Are priorities shifting to other subjects? For example, are the schools encouraging students to spend more time studying math and the sciences? Or is the entire curruculum being watered down, in your opinion?

Are the secondary schools teaching Asian languages? (Chinese, Japanese?)
Generally there's much more focus on the sciences; much debate is about how to further strengthen natural sciences and the students' interest in them. So the curriculum as a whole isn't deteriorating, but the priorities are changing to tangible subjects that have a definite application in the current society. While I agree that science is very important, and have a big interest there myself, I find this development a bit unfortunate; any society has a need for a basic understanding of itself and its own history, so I think dismissing the classics and the insight they bring like this is a mistake.

Most schools offer Japanese if there's sufficient interest from the students (naturally, a course won't be started if there're only two participants).

On a similar note, during my own attempts at learning Latin, I've signed up for several courses and repeatedly been turned down because I was the only one who signed up. I find this rather amusing in a way...

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Post by Emma_85 » Wed Jun 16, 2004 8:27 pm

Here they are actually shifting towards more Greek...(in my school at least). All the new pupils are starting to learn Greek and French a year earlier than I did, and two years below me they have 2 Greek and 2 French classes! Normally you have 1 small Greek class, no more than 20.

My school couldn't care less about the government's education council in Mainz, they just tell everyone to take music, Latin and art. Which is really annoying for me at least. They spend all their time and effort on music and nothing on the sciences :x !

Generally I think standards are going up though. I'm learning stuff now my dad learned at uni. I certainly have to learn more than both my parents.
- but -
It’s just learning... somehow I feel we are going into too much detail sometimes and learning useless details we'll just forget in a year or so, instead of learning the more basic important things. In chemistry for example, we spent ages learning some useless reaction mechanisms, but it's only now we are doing plastics. There's no chemistry major, only one minor course with 10 students left, so everyone else in my year will leave school not knowing how plastics are made, what plastic is made of and so on. I think people might remember that sort of thing, and that it's important, whereas no one really cares about some stupid reactions between alcohols and acids or whatever.
Basically we are learning loads of stuff, but I feel that most of it is unnecessary.
At least we are all going to Rome tomorrow, that isn't pointless :D .
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Post by Episcopus » Wed Jun 16, 2004 9:06 pm

I am the only one in the tri state area doing latin. The rest of them are up north in the grammar schools.

All the nuts call me a geek and a loser and throw their beans at me. I tell them to stop but they throw me in a bin full of AQA Physical Education test papers.

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Post by Amy » Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:00 pm

There is no passion AT ALL ANYWHERE today at least in the US and it seems in the UK also so that is why they are dropping the exams. I go to "one of the top 100 public high schools" even so you'd think that we'd have some sort of subject cults, some sort of obsessive group who cares! No! It's all formulated, faked, ENTHUSIASM, and we write "I am passionate about, because, well-rounded, blah" but it's a complete LIE. I get A-s on my math tests but I know I'm a D student at heart and A+s on Latin "tests" (multiple choice!!!??) while I'm a B+ student at best and I hate this system! The B students you're talking about, ricelius, are the students who walk home, slump on the chair and think about how nice it would be right about now to read that university physics textbook they bought but they've gotta study for that darn Latin exam because they have to seem "well-rounded" darnit. Traho trahere truxi tructum? Nope. I have to learn this. Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres. Even though I'll never be good and I could be a total happy physics genius I'll be pushed into relative mediocrity in both with a big A. Everyone gets pushed into this mentality so there is no excellence anywhere, only rote memorization, grade grubbing, and LOW expectations. It makes sense though because it's unrealistic to expect the diligent study that comes from LOVE of something you hate and oh yes we're all about well-roundedness here. So I've been holding the UK as some divine land of happy specialization for a while now but I guess I'll have to wait for college.
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Post by Episcopus » Thu Jun 17, 2004 2:55 pm

Sorry Amy, it's pretty much worse here :? What if I had to catch the bus I still stay with my mother. I only did not absent myself from the other 24 exams for my mother, but I actually like latin, although the tests took some of that away. They are for people as you say who study hard and are fake. It's hard to not study at all for tests that are made entirely for losers memorizing things, but that's what I did. Latin is not going to turn into Science.

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Post by Fair Terentia » Thu Jun 17, 2004 7:35 pm

I was very worried about AQA pulling out of Classics. (My jaw dropped when I was told). OCR may be the better and deeper board with greater choice of texts, but there will soon be no choice between boards. And, my Greek teacher did make the point that if OCR must integrate the people who would have done AQA, then they may need to dumb down their syllabus even more than they are currently doing.

I mean, I took my AS exams last week. The Greek language paper, well, it was a piece of Xenophon's Anabasis, edited. I had done the unedited version at the beginning of the year. Words in the vocabulary list were glossed and main parts of common irregular verbs were given as vocabulary even though surely it says in the syllabus that these things should be learned? There was constant repetition of constructions, grammar and vocabulary throughout the translation and I finished it in about 10 minutes (the exam is an hour).

Seriously, all this 'We're getting cleverer' stuff you read about is tosh. The exams aren't getting easier? Er, yes they are! It's almost insulting having to do them.

Episcopus- There is still some grammatical analysis in Latin/Greek A2, at least in OCR in you choose the comprehension option. (Of course this would mean not doing prose...)

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Post by Episcopus » Thu Jun 17, 2004 8:00 pm

haha did you just work out that exams are getting easier?

I have an O Level french composition book. No GCSE french student can conjugate the present indicative active of etre. No le/la/les. O Level goes to imperfect subjunctive. Enough said.

You have a Greek teacher :shock: Pull your jaw back up, you are lucky.

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Post by Michaelyus » Fri Jun 18, 2004 6:10 pm

Episcopus wrote: No GCSE french student can conjugate the present indicative active of etre. No le/la/les.
Excuse me!!! Je suis, tu es, il/elle/on est, nous sommes, vous êtes, ils/elles sont.

No le, la, les!... Je ne crois pas qu'il y a des élèves qui ne savent pas
le, la, les. C'est incroyablement mauvais!

Imperfect subjunctive? That's the finisse, finisses, finît, finisions, finissez, finissent one, isn't it? I've heard that even some bac students can't conjugate that.
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Post by Episcopus » Fri Jun 18, 2004 10:30 pm

alors...est-ce que c'est seulment mon ecole qui suce de grand archeveque...Je ne mentis point, je dis toujours la verité.
Il est probable que ton college est un des meilleurs du pays. Le subjonctif imparfait tu le connais? Lorsque j'ai vu tes conjugaisons je ne croyais pas que tu ne fusses qu'un normal etudiant de gcse! Je ne le crois pas encore! Tu l'as cherché dans un livre de grammaire? Je suis etonné que tu le connaisses! Qui que ce soit qui en sache un peu est tres fort en francais, meme s'il ne sait pas le conjuger.

que Je finisse, finisses, finít, finissions, finissiez, finissent.

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Post by Cleo » Sat Jun 19, 2004 2:11 am

"Qui suce de grand archeveque" ????

Now what is *that* supposed to mean? Even if I translate it back to English I don't get it...

I'm French Canadian, and some private schools here still teach Latin, although there's only a few. And it's been put back in university (yup, it was no longer available in university for a while!). In fact, I'm thinking about going for a Minor on top of doing Wheelock on my own.

As for the subjonctif imparfait, I know quite a few French speaking persons who couldn't conjugate that. I'm not sure I can! Gulp! (its been too long since I've needed it )
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Post by Michaelyus » Fri Jun 25, 2004 7:14 pm

En fait, il faut que je parle que je cherche un livre de la grammaire pour l'imparfait du subjonctif (quand je broutais dans? la bibliothèque). J'étais très choqué quand j'ai écouté qu'il y a des {euh...comment dit-on "tenses" en français?} que je (not nous) n'ai pas appris, comme le passé simple- je me sens honteux pour l'apprendant tard. Et je suis d'accord, les examens deviennent plus facile (en mon GCSE examen de lecture, je pense que j'ai un faut seulement).
(pourquoi, je lamente, pourquoi mon cerveau m'a décevu, pourquoi mon cerveau a oublié "poubelle", pourquoi, je lamente, pourquoi)
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Post by Emma_85 » Sat Jun 26, 2004 7:35 am

Fair Terentia wrote: I mean, I took my AS exams last week. The Greek language paper, well, it was a piece of Xenophon's Anabasis, edited. I had done the unedited version at the beginning of the year. Words in the vocabulary list were glossed and main parts of common irregular verbs were given as vocabulary even though surely it says in the syllabus that these things should be learned? There was constant repetition of constructions, grammar and vocabulary throughout the translation and I finished it in about 10 minutes (the exam is an hour).
Terentia
:cry: I want to take my Greek exams in England! I want an A too, not fair. We have bloody hard 3 to 4 hour exams here, and we certainly have to know all the irregular verbs. I've messed up my mark because of the irregualr verbs though... we had a one hour test on 160 irregular verbs I'd had no time to learn them... only read through their principle parts once. Oh well... at least I wrote something on my paper unlike some other people.

In languages the standards in the UK seem to be dropping, but I don't feel that is so other subjects especially sciences. But I'm a bit uncertain about this too now, as I had a look at my cousins' AS Chemistry paper. I only have chemistry minor, but if I had as much time as they have to learn for Chemistry I could still take that exam easily I think. I was very impressed with their geography exams though :shock: ...
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Post by Episcopus » Sat Jun 26, 2004 12:09 pm

The languages are :shock: easier. Modern ones particularly, to the point that an old O Level will equal a modern A Level. Classics are easier but they are still the hardest ones about. Maths are still :shock: Especially those OCR people again :shock: Even gcse is as hard as it ever was, I have exam on wednesday and, having failed the previous one, I have to do far more than the usual 3 questions which every one usually attempts.

I can't believe that Greek though :? They are too kind nowadays. They even give you the genitive for the latin :roll:

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Post by Michaelyus » Sat Jun 26, 2004 9:43 pm

Too kind? No, too patronising and too lazy to give us something really worth the time we have to learn it, to put it lightly.
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Post by Thucydides » Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:09 am

Surely the UK is still a haven of specialisation? It's the only country I know where you can concentrate on 3/4 subjects for you last two years.

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Post by Emma_85 » Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:49 am

I agree with Thucydides on that... I have to take... uh how many subjects? See, so many I don't even know how many with out counting them... hmmm... I'm taking 12 subjects. And I didn't really have that much of a choice, so I'm stuck with subjects I don't want and that bore me to death (Ethics, German, Sociology, Sport, Geography and so on) and I have to do well in all of them to get a good abitur.

Also it seems that the standard of teaching has not dropped everywhere, only the exams have. Otherwise Terentia wouldn't be complaining about how easy the exam is...
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Post by Thucydides » Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:53 am

Ah, the Abitur. That sounds like a nightmare emoige. Not only do you gave to take a million subjects, but you also have do loads of really random ones like Sociology...

I hear that US universities value UK candidates... don't know how true that is

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Post by Michaelyus » Sun Jun 27, 2004 2:15 pm

What would you learn in an old A-level, if modern A-levels equal old O-levels?
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Post by Emma_85 » Sun Jun 27, 2004 9:02 pm

The worst thing about the German abitur is not the million subjects, Thucydides. It's the fact that your exams (and there are loads of exams, like a 3 hour exam nearly every week, because of all the subjects) only count 30 - 50%. The rest is how well you work in class, and oh, have I mentioned the 'sudden' tests, which don't have to be announced before hand and which I always fail miserably at? These tests actually count quite a bit, that's the real problem... and if the teacher doesn't like you, well....
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Post by Thucydides » Mon Jun 28, 2004 5:50 pm

Yikes. Most of the foreign education systems (IB, Abitur, SAT) that I've heard of sound really really harsh.

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Post by Episcopus » Mon Jun 28, 2004 6:18 pm

We british are so badly educated and have kind little tests which welcome this. I mean, even whiteoctave had full marks on some of his tests, and he's not exactly the best. 8)

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Post by ingrid70 » Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:28 am

Emma_85 wrote:The worst thing about the German abitur is not the million subjects, Thucydides. It's the fact that your exams (and there are loads of exams, like a 3 hour exam nearly every week, because of all the subjects) only count 30 - 50%. The rest is how well you work in class, and oh, have I mentioned the 'sudden' tests, which don't have to be announced before hand and which I always fail miserably at? These tests actually count quite a bit, that's the real problem... and if the teacher doesn't like you, well....
On the other hand: you're not completely dependent on one big exam. In The Netherlands, the system is similar to what you describe for Germany. When I did my finals (long, long ago :) ), I could easily fail some of the exams, and still pass because of the marks gained earlier in the year.
The only reason I did work hard, was that I planned to do a "numerus fixus" study at university, which means that you have better chances to get a place if your marks are higher.

Still, those sudden tests were a nuisance, indeed :).

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Post by Emma_85 » Tue Jun 29, 2004 7:49 am

Yeah, I like the fact that my mark is not based on just one exam too, but only to a certain extent. There is really no time to do anything else except learn (useless) stuff for school, because you have to be prepared for every lesson, you every week there's an exam. I think I'll enjoy uni, lol, cause I'm already use to working each day, so that won't be a shock, plus there won't be exams every few days.
I'd like a system where you can specialise (so no 12 subjects!) and the mark is based on the exam, but also on coursework and similar. But it's just one exam at the end of the year, spreading it out may sound better at first, but I think it's more stress, because instead of haveing to learn all the time for the last few months, you're learning for exams all the time, plus that fact that you actually forget what you've learned with exam spread out through the year, I can only guess why, but it's a fact. The English system comes pretty close to what I've described actually, but I don't like the application system to uni in the UK at all, it sucks so much, plus you'd need an examination board which doesn't let standards drop in French for example :? .
I don't think it's such a shame that standards have dropped for Latin and Greek really, I mean up to a certain point. If the exams are a joke then of course that's terrible. But I don't think that examiners can expect the same as they could 50 years ago. We only learn half the vocabulary my Latin teacher had to learn at school, but we just wouldn't learn all that vocab, we have other subjects to concentrate on, Latin is still a compulsory major subject, but the school knows hardly anyone will really need it in their studies like before. So naturally students prefer to put their efforts into more useful subjects.
I think the standards for Latin had to drop, because it's just not as important that you know it and others are more important. You can ask too much of students. But as I've already said, there is a certain standard which should still be maintained, otherwise you can just forget it totally.
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Post by ricelius » Tue Jun 29, 2004 8:35 am

This is an interesting topic: which is better, one exam at the end of the year or multiple tests during the year? The way it is in Denmark, the Ministry will choose (randomly) for each high school student which exams to take. Basically, you have to do a total of six oral exams during high school. For the rest of the classes, you just get your current grade transfered. For instance, during the previous year I knew that I might have an exam in biology, chemistry, either, or neither. Then in late May I was told to forget about biology and concentrate on chemistry, since I was going to have an exam in this class. Even though I like chemistry better than biology, this bothered me, since my grade in biology is lower than in chemistry and I know I'll most likely score a better grade at an exam. Taking this into account, and considering that exams by their very nature are much more fair to the students than individual teachers' assessments, I think a system with an exam for each class taken would be ideal. Of course, an overall workload similar to the current would have to be maintained, meaning that the expectations for each exam might have to be a little lower. Still, I think the students as well as society would gain a great deal from this, since it would ensure both a fair grade given to the studets and even attention to each class given from the students.

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Post by Emma_85 » Tue Jun 29, 2004 12:25 pm

Oh, I don't like the Danish system at all... that sounds horrible, not knowing what to concentrate on. At least here I know what's going on, even if the workload is ridiculous.
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Post by Geoff » Tue Jun 29, 2004 5:59 pm

I'm pathetic at math. I haven't used it consistently in some time. I recently retook the SAT and figured I'd completely bomb the math portion and even I got average. Evidently, the standards here for that are ridiculously low!

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Post by Emma_85 » Wed Jun 30, 2004 1:21 pm

Well in the US the system is totally different of course. It seems that either you work or you don't work, no one (maybe parents, but not teachers) will make you learn anything. You have to want to learn something there it seems, but if you are interested and you do do your work, basically that will be rewarded, no matter how intelligent you are - if you don't want to work you'll be ignored. For uni that's not a good idea maybe, but for high-school I think that's not bad at all, and if it means lowering the standards of maths exams... well basically maths in my best subject (next to Ethics), but I don't agree with the German system, where maths is a compulsory subject for everyone doing the Abitur. No one in the maths minor courses is interested in maths and will never need to know how to analyse a function like f(x)=e^(3x+7)*7x/(8x+9x^2).
But still they have to learn it. Maths is a tool, only mad people learn maths for maths sake, if you need to know how to use this tool in detail then you'll learn what you need know during your studies or apprenticeship.
I think the American system is better when it comes to that. Standards for maths maybe lower there than here, but instead they learn it at uni if they have to. Later at uni the standards in the US universities are higher and everything is specialised, it's not only because of all the money they receive that the US universities are ranked highest in the world.
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Keesa
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Post by Keesa » Thu Jul 01, 2004 11:32 am

I am so glad I'm homeschooled....
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bingley
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Post by bingley » Wed Jul 14, 2004 7:57 am

The AQA decision to drop Greek and Latin from the list of subjects offered has been condemned in Parliament by both Labour and Conservative politicians:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... 2-32_head1

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