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September 22, 2019, 01:25:26 am

Author Topic: How would you change VCE?  (Read 1172 times)  Share 

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whys

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2019, 06:53:06 pm »
+1
As to what I'd change about VCE - I'd like there to be no subjects scaling above 50 and less emphasis on ranking.

YES. This. I personally don't think it is fair that students who do subjects that scale above 50 usually get the 99.95's. I couldn't get a 99.95 even with a raw 50 in all my subjects according to data from previous years because none scale well above 50 (methods could scale to 51, but still not equal to a 99.95).

1. How do you suggest this happens? Thereís quite a few variables such as whether itís a private school or not, the location of the school, the funding received by the school dependent on numbers, the funding that may be received by the school by parents, incoming money from fundraisers,  the use of that money by the school, the variability in general teacher competence. Also how do you measure if such a change has been successful?


I absolutely agree that there is a stupidly high advantage that people have going to selective schools or private schools or even public schools in high SES areas. However, itís an issue that is not unique to education and one with no Ďeasyí fix.

I agree that it's mostly the students that make the school great, not the school that makes the students great. If you put a bunch of above-average students all together in one school, how can you not expect them to perform above-average? However, this isn't to say the school doesn't help at all, because it does. As for how it could happen... I don't know. That's why it's so difficult to create a flawless schooling system - there isn't one. So many factors come into play here such as the ones you mentioned. I think teacher competence is a big one though. At my old school, I was never challenged with what we learnt and therefore I found school very easy. However, it is probably improvable through things like hiring more competent teachers (my humanities teacher in year 8 basically let us do whatever we wanted to in class and there was barely ever a focus on learning) and helping the school direct where the funding goes, etc. I'm sure schools could improve in a multitude of ways. This would take a long time, but it is achievable to an extent. Obviously, you can't expect every student to excel academically. People are good at different things, whether it be music, sport or dance. To measure something like this you would not only need to look at the overall average study scores/ATAR of the school, but also the other things the students achieve (sporting scholarships? I'm not sure what else there is - but I'm sure there's plenty).

I hope I didn't portray this as something that can be fixed overnight, but I wanted to highlight the issue simply because of its prevalence. There probably isn't a country out there without this problem (save Finland probably 8)). SES status is also a big contributor; that's undeniable. I just hope the gap can somehow be closed over time.
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DrDusk

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2019, 07:26:44 pm »
0
YES. This. I personally don't think it is fair that students who do subjects that scale above 50 usually get the 99.95's. I couldn't get a 99.95 even with a raw 50 in all my subjects according to data from previous years because none scale well above 50 (methods could scale to 51, but still not equal to a 99.95).

Can I ask, what is this whole thing with subjects scaling over 50 or something?
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Sine

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2019, 07:29:28 pm »
+3
YES. This. I personally don't think it is fair that students who do subjects that scale above 50 usually get the 99.95's. I couldn't get a 99.95 even with a raw 50 in all my subjects according to data from previous years because none scale well above 50 (methods could scale to 51, but still not equal to a 99.95).
You may not be aware of how vce scaling works, but specialist is the 'hard' maths and is one of the few subjects that can scale above 50. The only other subjects that can scale above 50 are languages and I had to discontinue the language I was studying due to a timetable clash with biology. Due to this, even if I had received perfect scores in all of my subjects, it's unlikely that I would have received a 99.95 ATAR.

As to what I'd change about VCE - I'd like there to be no subjects scaling above 50 and less emphasis on ranking.
Absolutely agree with this. Yes, some subjects are harder than others such as Specialist and Further, however, subjects should not scale past a 50. It's just unfair in the end, especially to other low scaling subjects. It's already hard enough to get a 50 in some subjects, but letting certain subjects scale above 50 just because of how challenging it really does show how unbalanced the VCE system really is. We are all just playing a game of "number cat and mouse" and really the ideas of ranking and scaling are consuming us all slowly were in the end, most will struggle to enjoy the experience of learning.


As someone who benefitted from scaling over 50 (although I think if they had a cap I don't think it would change my ATAR as other students aggregates would drop too) on face value, these comments make sense. Students shouldn't have different scoring potentials based purely on subject choices/interests.

However, I do think a few arguments can be made why scaling over 50 is necessary and I don't think it is fair to artificially cap it that "low" (scaling is capped at 55 though)
1. Actually differentiates students in that cohort. E.g if Scaling was capped at 50 students with a 38-39 in Specialist would receive the same scaled score as those who get a raw 50. Whilst I do believe the actual mathematical ability in those within the range of 40-50 in a specialist is quite similar there would be no reward for people scoring better and less incentive to go for those higher raw scores.

2. If scaling was capped on 50 and those below raw 50 couldn't get a 50 then it isn't a fair comparison between subjects. The scalings have been mathematically calculated so by having the same rules it is theoretically fair. Something to note is that Specialist and many languages don't magically scale over 50 - e.g. Other subjects like Chemistry or History all have the potential to scale over but the cohort dictates that they don't. I did say that scaling is capped at 55 so perhaps it could be worse if there were no restrictions.

whys

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2019, 07:49:49 pm »
0
Focusing on just the idea of learning and exploration, rather than making VCE a high-stakes competition where scaling, ranks, scores are dominant in students' minds.

I also feel that exams promote the idea of rote learning rather than authentic learning experiences. Remembering a definition for example - does this help students and their learning and why? What value does asking for the definition (on its own) with 1-2 marks attached, have? Exams to focus on the practical application of their subject discipline/area.

You have to at least query what negative impacts the competitiveness and obsession with numbers, has... you don't have to look far to see the impact of the "numbers game". Just go have a look at the Victorian Technical Score Discussion board.

I also couldn't agree more. Like, if you actually look back upon your schooling, and consider what you've learnt, I know a lot of past school students will say they learnt how to answer VCAA questions, rather than deeply understanding the knowledge presented to them. As I said earlier, and as is said in the HSC equivalent of this thread, Finland does this job quite well with no standardised testing. I think it's important to foster a love for learning rather than fussing over sac marks. Not like the VCE system will change anytime soon, but it's interesting to see how else it can be improved.

As with scaling, I can see both sides of the argument and can understand why scaling is necessary. But I am also a firm believer that students' ATARs shouldn't be limited by their subject choices, and this is something scaling makes inevitable, unfortunately. It would be difficult to create a scaling system that caters to both sides of the issue, especially since a scaling cap is already in place; there's not much else that can be done regarding this.
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colline

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2019, 09:47:54 pm »
+1
I would get rid of the restriction of only a maximum of 6 subjects counting towards the aggregate and taking only 10% of the two lowest scores.

I think we should encourage students to study as much as they want to and capping the max number of ATAR-contributing subjects at 6 discourages students from exploring more fields of study.

The 10% increment of bottom two is ridiculous. Students donít put in only 10% of the effort. All these rules just restrict people who want to explore more interests and potential pathways because it is also important to maximise your score. But with the current system, it punishes students who want to have a wider range of knowledge.

Hereís my Ďfixí:

Students should be allowed to study any number of subjects they like, and all of them could contribute (FULLY) towards the ATAR.

However, to stop students from doing a large number of subjects for the sake of getting a higher aggregate (cos theoretically, if you did more subjects and all count towards the ATAR, youíd be more likely to get a higher aggregate even if you performed poorly in all of them), scores would only count if they achieve a certain threshold, for example, raw 25 or something.

That way, students are encouraged to both explore all areas of interest, and have the incentive to work hard as otherwise their scores wonít count.

Would love to hear what people think of this!


Regarding the above debate on whether students at private/select entry schools are at an advantage within the VCE system ó I think yes, but by a negligible amount. Things like SEAS and equity programs at universities more than balance out the inequalities between high schools.


 
It's actually neither of these things. It's all about money. SES status has a massive influence on atar. Students from rich families are obviously more likely to go to private schools (and are also over represented in select entry schools). It's not necessarily that going to a private or select entry schools will mean you get a higher atar (although it makes it easier), it's that the people who go to those school tend to have a high SES status, and people will a high SES status, on average, get higher atars.


With respect, I donít think itís right to simply brush aside the amount of effort, hard work, perseverance of high achievers at those schools with ďoh theyíre rich, itís easier for themĒ. Itís a very one-dimensional way of looking at this very complicated issue. There are many, many more important aspects such as family background, culture, expectations, peer influences, and personal beliefs and preferences which affect someoneís ATAR to a much higher extent than money.

Saying that income has correlation to high ATAR isnít wrong but itís not looking at the full picture. Correlation doesnít equal causation. Just some food for thought.
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Sine

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2019, 10:10:04 pm »
+4
I would get rid of the restriction of only a maximum of 6 subjects counting towards the aggregate and taking only 10% of the two lowest scores.

I think we should encourage students to study as much as they want to and capping the max number of ATAR-contributing subjects at 6 discourages students from exploring more fields of study.

The 10% increment of bottom two is ridiculous. Students donít put in only 10% of the effort. All these rules just restrict people who want to explore more interests and potential pathways because it is also important to maximise your score. But with the current system, it punishes students who want to have a wider range of knowledge.

Hereís my Ďfixí:

Students should be allowed to study any number of subjects they like, and all of them could contribute (FULLY) towards the ATAR.

However, to stop students from doing a large number of subjects for the sake of getting a higher aggregate (cos theoretically, if you did more subjects and all count towards the ATAR, youíd be more likely to get a higher aggregate even if you performed poorly in all of them), scores would only count if they achieve a certain threshold, for example, raw 25 or something.

That way, students are encouraged to both explore all areas of interest, and have the incentive to work hard as otherwise their scores wonít count.

Would love to hear what people think of this!
It would be so unhealthy for the students if every subject counted towards your ATAR with no cap on the number of subjects. Even now you have got students doing 9 subjects because they are scared of underperformance hurting them so they try to give themselves a bit of leeway but if there was no cap I wouldn't be surprised if some students just started loading up on scores in early high school years. Also since being average in two subjects (2 x 30) is better than perfecting one (50) it would probably be smarter to have an average understanding in heaps of subjects in a given year. Especially since the time it takes to get to a SS of 30 is much less than half the time required for a 50.

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2019, 01:20:23 am »
+4
With respect, I donít think itís right to simply brush aside the amount of effort, hard work, perseverance of high achievers at those schools with ďoh theyíre rich, itís easier for themĒ. Itís a very one-dimensional way of looking at this very complicated issue. There are many, many more important aspects such as family background, culture, expectations, peer influences, and personal beliefs and preferences which affect someoneís ATAR to a much higher extent than money.

Saying that income has correlation to high ATAR isnít wrong but itís not looking at the full picture. Correlation doesnít equal causation. Just some food for thought.
I'm not trying to brush that aside. No one gets high scores easily, but everyone who gets high scores has to work very hard. Family background, culture, expectations, peer influences, and personal beliefs and preferences affect everyone, not just high ses students, however the research shows that the major influence on atar is SES status, not any of these other factors (there has been studies on this for decades, and the influence of ses on education attainment is widely accepted in sociology), to say that these other factors affect atar to a higher extent than ses (ses status is not just money) is simply not true, and this has been shown in studies for a long time (although this is an interesting article on other factors that affect education attainment within socioeconomic bands, if you're interested).

I'm not saying that every single person who comes from a high ses background will have an easier time of vce than those who come from a low ses background, but I am saying that on average ses status predicts how well students do in vce. On average, students from high SES backgrounds are at an advantage compared to those from low SES background. That is a fact supported by many years of studies and not something that can simply be ignored in favour of saying that everyone who does well works hard (although interestingly, the effect is not the same when it comes to tertiary study).

I would get rid of the restriction of only a maximum of 6 subjects counting towards the aggregate and taking only 10% of the two lowest scores.

I think we should encourage students to study as much as they want to and capping the max number of ATAR-contributing subjects at 6 discourages students from exploring more fields of study.

The 10% increment of bottom two is ridiculous. Students donít put in only 10% of the effort. All these rules just restrict people who want to explore more interests and potential pathways because it is also important to maximise your score. But with the current system, it punishes students who want to have a wider range of knowledge.

Hereís my Ďfixí:

Students should be allowed to study any number of subjects they like, and all of them could contribute (FULLY) towards the ATAR.

However, to stop students from doing a large number of subjects for the sake of getting a higher aggregate (cos theoretically, if you did more subjects and all count towards the ATAR, youíd be more likely to get a higher aggregate even if you performed poorly in all of them), scores would only count if they achieve a certain threshold, for example, raw 25 or something.

That way, students are encouraged to both explore all areas of interest, and have the incentive to work hard as otherwise their scores wonít count.

Would love to hear what people think of this!
Agree with sine about this, don't think it would be healthy for students. At my high school anyone can do any electives, which meant I got to continue studying a variety of subjects I was interested in, without the pressure of having to try and get a good score in them (there was also no study required outside of class which means more time to study for subjects you get a score for, although I did spend a fair bit of time with my fishies anyway). I think this is a much better system than doing more vce subjects, although it would require a bit of a change in the education system to work at most schools (e.g. allowing students to do vce subjects earlier so they have room in their timetable for electives during vce).
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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2019, 02:48:58 am »
0
- controversial but no scaling at all. I get why it exists - every subject should be treated equally. students who are good at subjects like spec and languages will pick them anyway.

- remove english from top 4. everyone has to do english, but it doesn't have to be top 4.

- remove subjects like EAL and 'second language' subjects (like chinese second language - just have Chinese as a whole instead for eg). yes it may seem unfair for people who come from the background but in real life they won't split you by background vs background speakers. also European languages don't split into first/second languages even though there are several people from such European backgrounds (eg French, German, Italian) so why split it for like Chinese/Korean etc.
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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2019, 06:31:19 pm »
+8
Would be pretty sweet if VCE/VCAA didn't ruin my mental state and self-esteem so they can make me compete against all of my friends and the remainder of the state

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2019, 05:10:39 pm »
+2
100% get english out of the top four. i donít think itís fair for people who are better at maths/sciences to be forced to have one of their worst subjects in their top four whilst students who are good at english get one of their higher subjects in their top four.
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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #25 on: September 17, 2019, 06:17:04 pm »
+1
as kind of off topic as it is, i feel like the government should assign career counsellors to each school. some cases at my school were that, for example, a psychology teacher is pushing a student to do psychology, when they're interested in anything but science. another case could be mine, where i thought i could do spesh and german because my career counsellor just regurgitated what i said to them, and didnt challenge me to think about other pathways. i thought id say this because ive heard that some people go halfway through a 3/4 and end up dropping it because it wasnt what they were expecting, it was too hard, it was too boring, etc. i feel like with the right guidance we wont have people having constant mental breakdowns over subjects they regret choosing. idk this went a bit off topic imo sorry
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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2019, 12:20:01 pm »
+1
as kind of off topic as it is, i feel like the government should assign career counsellors to each school. some cases at my school were that, for example, a psychology teacher is pushing a student to do psychology, when they're interested in anything but science. another case could be mine, where i thought i could do spesh and german because my career counsellor just regurgitated what i said to them, and didnt challenge me to think about other pathways. i thought id say this because ive heard that some people go halfway through a 3/4 and end up dropping it because it wasnt what they were expecting, it was too hard, it was too boring, etc. i feel like with the right guidance we wont have people having constant mental breakdowns over subjects they regret choosing. idk this went a bit off topic imo sorry
Like a neutral, external careers counsellor? That seems like a really beneficial idea.
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khadeejaatif

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2019, 06:46:41 pm »
+1
Like a neutral, external careers counsellor? That seems like a really beneficial idea.

yes exactly!!
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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2019, 06:55:21 pm »
+2
Bit late to the party, but here we go...
I'd remove having to complete 16 units as a requirement.

I think everyone should do four subjects or more, however I think it should be based on 3/4 units, not a combined total.

Also english shouldn't be in the top four.
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Sine

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Re: How would you change VCE?
« Reply #29 on: September 18, 2019, 08:58:44 pm »
+2
100% get english out of the top four. i donít think itís fair for people who are better at maths/sciences to be forced to have one of their worst subjects in their top four whilst students who are good at english get one of their higher subjects in their top four.
Bit late to the party, but here we go...
I'd remove having to complete 16 units as a requirement.

I think everyone should do four subjects or more, however I think it should be based on 3/4 units, not a combined total.

Also english shouldn't be in the top four.

Devil's Advocate: removing English from the top 4 (but keeping compulsory) sends the message to students that VCAA cares about English but don't care that much.

Personally I think it should be compulsory but not top 4, (unless someone wants to make a math compulsory + top 4 but it would be unfair of having 50% of your top 4 chosen by someone else).

So, in that case, Eng/Math should be compulsory but don't have to be top 4.

Also, some more reasoning for Eng not being top 4 is that it is probably the only subject where your teacher is arguably the most important factor. For stuff like math, you don't necessarily even need a teacher and can learn via a textbook/internet.