Thursday, 25 June 2015

Mums can be all in a lifetime - SAHM, Part Time, unemployed, Full Time Working

Mums can be all in a lifetime - SAHM, Part Time, unemployed, Full Time Working

How many surveys do you hear which tell Mums what they should be. I say bin them all ! Listen to your instinct and if you want to stay home with your kids because you just know that is best, then do it ! And lets hope that finances and government subsidies are such that you are able to do this for a few years until your little people are heading for school.

But even then it can be tricky to find work or to manage all the pressing demands in family life. Work does not always fit in with age-ing parents, kids who need to be in three places at once etc. And the weather is not always on their side either. If they have over a mile to walk to school and nowadays the rain is invariably falling then it can be great to take them to school occasionally.

Anyway back to my original point. These surveys seem to assume that in a Woman's working life of 50 years they can be a stay at home mother for fifty years ....  I doubt many people do that !!

Here is what the people I know have done :

10 years working...10 years SAHM...10 years self employed ...aiming to work for 15+ more years
Others work part time when babies are small.
There are all sorts of options.
Many have returned to their original careers, others have taken the chance for a change of career.
Still more have retrained.
Some regret not taking more time off.

But for the sake of equality - listen to your instinct and insist on staying off with your kids at whatever time in their lifes you feel they need you. They are your number 1 priority ....

And government should do more to find part time jobs for women who want to return to the workplace, instead of this constant push to force women with very young babies to go back to work.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Higher Maths

There has been controversy this year over the SQA Higher Maths exam in Scotland.

However .... many people I have spoken to, including some in my family, did not have a particular problem with the exam. Although others were reporting some pupils to be quite distressed by the exam.

Some of the questions were designed in a way that had been experienced by those doing the new Higher. So that would have been a disadvantage to those sitting the old Higher.
There has also been some discussion over the wording of questions, where the question was not entirely clear.

Now the problem is that if they were to remove these questions and base the exam results on the other questions then this could actually disadvantage someone who had originally done better in the exam and could lead to people who originally had a lower mark coming out on top ...

Some pupils just did not even attempt certain questions...and it is possible that these pupils therefore had more time to check their other questions ... whereas those who struggled with the difficult questions may have had no time to go back and check their answers.

On a simple level lets take an example of a eight question exam for a total of 20 marks, with questions increasing in difficulty as the paper progresses.
If achieving full marks, the marks per question would be ... 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4

Now lets assume Pupil 1 finds maths quite hard so they achieve the following marks :
1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 3, 0, 0  (total = 10 / 20)

Pupil 2  is better at maths and achieves :
1, 0, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 2  (they have attempted the last few questions but had no time to go back and check the earlier questions)
(total = 16 / 20)

Now, if the last two questions were removed as deemed too difficult, the marks for both pupils would then be Pupil 1 = 10/12  and Pupil 2 = 11 / 12
Now,... these pupils now appear to be much closer in results than the actual marks illustrate.

So ... how can these pupils be differentiated ? Should they both now get an A ?

Well perhaps that would be OK .... BUT there must never be a case where a pupil ends up with a lesser mark having originally had more marks.

For example lets say there was a Pupil 3 who achieved  1, 1, 0, 1, 3, 3, 4, 3

This pupil originally achieved  16 / 20 (equal to pupil 2 and much more than Pupil 1)
but if the last two questions are removed Pupil 3 would only score 9 / 12 and may well be allocated a B .... which is LESS !! than Pupil 1. This is patently unfair ...

No pupil should ever achieve a mark less than they originally achieved. So if they were heading for an A or a B on their original score then that should not be reduced.
Fine, there may need to be some adjustment for pupils who have taken the wrong meaning from a question if there is agreement that the question was badly worded.
But these decisions must not be taken lightly as people's futures depend on these results.
This is unfair to that pupil but also negative to society in general if we don't get those who are best at maths into for example engineering etc.