MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Compare and Contrast

First, a nice quote from Alan Johnson, Education Secretary:

He told the UK Youth Parliament that exams were not getting easier and critics were sentimentalists harking back to a "mythical golden age".

Critics claim that the rising exam pass rates are evidence of "dumbing down".

But Mr Johnson told the meeting in Leicester that the nation should "take pride in these improvements".

He cited research showing that standards of grammar and punctuation had improved over the past decade.

Hmmm. Well, let's have a look at a little example. This is from The Telegraph's education section, within John Clare's any questions?:

A friend of my daughter has just taken a GCSE in "leisure and
tourism". How difficult is that? Here are some questions from this year's paper set by Edexcel: "Describe two duties of each of the following jobs: chef; lifeguard;
tourist information officer (12 marks); explain how table reservations
and a children's menu could meet the needs of families using a restaurant (6 marks); explain why Australia is classed as a long-haul destination (2 marks); explain why the amount of money people have to spend affects what they choose to do in their leisure time (4 marks)."

Then there is: "Two 20-year-old Swedish girls travelled by plane to London for a three-night short break. They used the London Underground from the airport to their hotel. Each day the girls bought day travel tickets, which they used on buses and the Tube in central London. Explain why they used a bus to travel around London (3 marks) and why they did not travel by taxi from the airport to their hotel (4 marks)". Together, these questions accounted for a third of the marks. The
subject "leisure and tourism counts" as two GCSEs. I hope that this answers your query.

Now let's contrast it with something posted on a Yahoo messageboard:

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895 Five hour exam.

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of

" and "run."
5. Define case; Illustrate each case.
6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation. 7
- 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you
understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1:25 hours)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many
bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50
cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy
to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for
5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20
per square meter?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of
which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn,
and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800,

There is more, but you have probably already got the point. The point is, can anyone with a straight face really admit that there is no difference?


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