Meaningless qualifications

dumbed down degreesTwo days ago was the farce on Sky TV over the so-called doctor and her “girls must have quotas in STEM subjects at university”.

Unfortunately, the focus became women’s brains, a red herring and pointless discussion as most sane people accept that everyone, irrespective, has his or her strengths.

Despite that, there are certainly tendencies of the sexes to go into this or that profession and a lack of comfort for one or other sex, on the whole, within some fields – and it cuts both ways. And there are good reasons for it.

All of that is still a distraction from the real story. The real story is what’s become of education overall, able to be quantitively measured, from methodology to results and the way this has been deliberately and artificially introduced. Forced.

And this quota business is a distraction from very real division – the education our generation received and that of subsequent generations.

We know about the dumbing down, the left/ government complex vehemently denies it, naturally but a Spectator article by Dr. Madsen Pirie from January 20th, 2001, page 12, says differently and presages a movement which has only gathered momentum in subsequent years, not lost it:

The questions themselves have changed. An 0-level question was demanding of fact and understanding. Candidates might have been asked to outline the main arguments presented in the 1689 Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement of 1701, and the effect this might have had on Catholics. A modern GCSE question, encouraging empathy, might ask, ‘How might you have felt as a Jewish child growing up in Nazi Germany?’

An old 0-level question might have asked why the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745 ended in failure. A typical GCSE question on the same subject, using stimulus material such as a picture, might ask as its first question (carrying one mark), ‘Why is Bonnie Prince Charlie wearing tartan?’

Given these facts, the outcome is less surprising. If we change the structure of our examinations, and the methods by which they are marked, in ways which play to girls’ strengths, we can hardly be surprised if boys do less well than they did before. It is not that boys are becoming less able or less academic than they were previously.

It is that they now face examinations which have been feminised, and which fail to bring out their strong points. It is not that the exams were right before, and are wrong now. It is that they were boy-friendly before, and are now girl-friendly.

The previous exams discriminated against girls just as much as the present ones discriminate against boys. Commentators have observed that modern society has become to some degree feminised. The same has happened to examinations. They have been remade, perhaps unconsciously, in a feminine image which downplays competition and risk, both of which favour boys.

Pausing for one moment to reflect on that – exams used to test facts and understanding, now they test feelings about something – where does that put the “It is not that the exams were right before, and are wrong now. It is that they were boy-friendly before, and are now girl-friendly.”

Sorry, it is very much about the exams being right before and wrong now. What is learning?  How you feel about a colour or towards another?  And especially in STEM subjects, what has the new paradigm to do with STEM?

Anthea Lipsett wrote, on Thursday 23 October 2008, in the Mail:

Academics are under growing pressure to award students higher marks and plagiarism is rife in universities, new research has found.

Serious concerns about dumbing down in universities emerged.

More than three quarters of academics questioned (77%) said pressure on them to give better marks had increased. And 78% believed that student plagiarism was an increasing problem in their institution.

A third (34%) believed reports of universities dumbing down were correct, while 82% said lack of resources were affecting academic standards.

The reader poll of 500 university staff, by the Times Higher Education magazine, aimed to give a snapshot of views on the debate over degree standards.

The quality of assessment and marks awarded in universities has been drawn into question over recent months.

Earlier this year Sir Peter Williams, the head of the university watchdog the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), said the degree classification system was no longer fit for purpose.

Sarah Harris, on 13 January 2012, wrote:

HESA also provided detailed data covering the period between 2006/7 and 2010/11, when there was a 45 per cent increase in the number of students gaining firsts.

Sixty-six per cent of degrees obtained by women were firsts or 2.1s in 2010/11 compared with 61 per cent of those achieved by males.

High scores: More students are graduating and with better grades than in the past, despite accusations of commercialism and anti-intellectualism.

Demands for reform of degree classification have increased over recent years amid claims that some lecturers turn a blind eye to plagiarism to help their institutions climb official league tables.
University whistle-blowers have also alleged that external examiners have been ‘leaned on’ to boost grades.

Universities have been asked to adopt a new graduate ‘report card’, providing a detailed breakdown of students’ academic achievements plus information about extra-curricular activities. However, they cannot be forced to.

Professor Alan Smithers, of Buckingham University, said: ‘The inflation in degree classes is rendering them almost meaningless.

‘Employers have to look at A-level results and the university at which the degree is being obtained.’

You’re not employed at universities today unless you knuckle down, become complicit and provide inflated scores, particularly to girls, in order to achieve the female majority so desired by the ideologues.

What it means is that someone calling herself doctor now is a recipient of largesse if of a particular socially favoured demographic.

And what did one such student write two days ago to me?

Slowly but surely, ignoring the pained screeches of the threatened, outraged male, it is happening.

Were there any differences between male and female aptitude for this field or that, it is no longer measurable as the field has been deliberately and artificially skewed.

Merit is no longer the criterion.

4 comments for “Meaningless qualifications

  1. June 13, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Yep. On the point of STEM and women, haiku mentions El Reg:

    Fewer women are working in the digital sector than a decade ago, according to a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills quango.

    Currently just one quarter of employees are women in digital businesses such as software development, visual effects and computer games – down from one-third in 2002 – according to the report.

    The report reckons two million people are employed in digital and creative industries, with the sector worth £137bn to the UK annually.

    It claimed a further 1.2m people will be needed to fill jobs in the sector by 2022.

    Karen Price, director of networking org the Tech Partnership, described the findings as “very disappointing”.

    Julia mentions the state of articulation:

  2. Hereward unbowed.
    June 13, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    What is a constant source of amazement and sometimes amusement to me, graduates of the past decade and a bit – are so ignorant of what goes on in the world around them, in that, their general knowledge is non existent and geographical and historical knowledge of Britain – is embarrassing and ranges from, sparse to hopeless.

    Anecdotally, t’other day while waiting to go out, I caught the beginning of some quiz beeb programme. Upon which, it contestants are asked questions of variable difficulty written up on a screen. Some child partnered by his mammie, – a Vetinary science graduate and a practioner of some two years standing – no less!
    I watched agog, astonished that the only ‘famous’ female he could pick out on a list – was the name of the first British female PM. Whenm, certainly of the seven questions, I could answer five and make a decent stab at the other two.
    Long time since, I knew of one or two Vets and keen as mustard they were [think Tristram]. Both, were lightening quick and both were experts in chosen hobbies, one a classicist – devoted to long hours spent digging up and around on sites and Greek antiquities and the other one fascinated by Renaissance Art or some such – their general knowledge was pretty damn brilliant.

    It’s not the kids though, it’s the system and ignorance of their teachers – they who are unable to instill, to impart the wonder of knowledge, the universe and of finding out about and a having a unquenchable thirst for reading and learning.

    But yers know, the whole world is going to hell and wimmin are driving us all there.

    [..]It is tempting to write off as crackpots these students who see literature itself as a form of abuse, but they are only the outcome of an academy that for decades has embraced new-feminist notions about the folly of ‘male’ thought and the sexism of classic texts. Indeed, as far back as 1986, Sandra Harding described Newton’s Principia Mathematica — one of humanity’s key scientific texts — as a ‘rape manual’, on the basis that Newton and other modern scientific thinkers viewed nature as something to be plundered, controlled, ‘raped’. Inevitably, sixteenth-century scientific revolutionary Francis Bacon’s description of nature as a ‘she’, whose secrets we should ‘extract’, has been branded by new-feminist academics as misogynistic, evidence that ‘sexual and sexist imagery permeated the new scientific view of the world’. [/quote]

    • June 14, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Just to add grist to Hereward Unbowed’s comment referencing Spiked!, we have Gaia, a Greek mythological goddess, chosen (again) by many modern enthusiasts of things green to represent Mother Earth.

      But was not that concept chosen for its bounty and fecundity, rather than its ease of subjugation?

      Best regards

  3. June 14, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Indeed, both gentlemen.

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