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back to article Lad passes gruelling 'getting on bus' test

A Bury lad waiting for his GCSE results was somewhat surprised to learn he'd passed exam board AQA's stringent 'Using Public Transport (Unit 1)' test, which honours those able to "walk to the local bus stop, stand or sit at a bus stop, wait for the arrival of a public bus and sit on the bus and observe through the windows". …

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Here's the syllabus ( don't laugh )

http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/pdf/81122.PDF

I can't understand why he's surprised to get the certificate as he's meant to have completed a worksheet which has to be inspected.

So he either failed "Basic Remembering Things (Unit 1)" or got an award without doing the prerequisite work and there's a assessor failing to do their job properly.

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FAIL

@Andy Hockey

Oh dear God.

I think it's pub time. I want to forget I ever saw that.

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Coat

Hmmm

So how did the test get 'adjudicated' if he was unaware that he was taking it? Isn't anonymously following strangers onto buses slightly 'shady' practice for adjudicators?

And on what grounds did his brother fail on? Walking to school?

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Dead Vulture

Here are much better qualifications

Take a look at this one.

http://tinyurl.com/aov9v

I have the certificate for my Ph.D. in Arse -elbow differentiation on the wall at work....the only sad thing is that the AQA site isn't a joke!

We are all doomed

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Anonymous Coward

Unit 2

Unit 2 covers how to sit and take up two seats, eating smelly food and listening to music through annoying mobile phone speakers.

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FAIL

Joe...

Did he actually manage to fail... or is he now the proud recipient of a certificate lauding him for Deferred Success? (I would think actually failing anything these days was an achievement in itself)

PS What happens if a bus doesn't turn up? How long are examinees expected to wait? Or is that Unit 2 - Advanced Time Management... knowing when you're wasting your time?

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"Bus Pass"

My newspaper headline for this article would simply be "bus pass"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: His Brother FAILED

>How the hell can anyone fail?

I'm so claustrohpobic that I had panic attacks when they changed the front door on our block of flats for something rather substantial so getting on a bus is not something I could do so therefore I would fail..

However I do walk everywhere and did pass a cycling proficiency test years ago. Do they still do them?

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Boffin

I'd fail one of these....

"Cleaning and putting away dishes after a meal."

Step 7. use a tea towel to dry the dishes;

I've fogotten how to use a teatowel. In Finland everyone puts the dishes in a cupboard with a rack over the sink to dry.

Sheesh. You couldn't make this up!

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Face it...

It's probably of more interest to a future employer than a philosphy degree...

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And an MSc*

when he loses his virgnity.

*Managed Sex correctly

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Award scheme

There isn't any structure to those awards, for example "Using a coin operated telephone" should need, pre-requisite, Advanced orienteering skills unit 6 or higher, needed to be able to find one of the damn things and also "Basic stone masonry" to be able to chip off the hardened chewing gum stuck down the slot. Can you take this module before passing "Using coins units 1 & 2"?

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Go

So make it significantly more difficult.

If you tweaked this just a little, it would mean something. Just add the following questions:

1) When sitting down on the bus, should you take up:

a) One seat, or

b) Another for your feet?

2) Once seated, should your mp3-playing phone be in

a) headset mode, or

b) speaker mode so everyone can hear it?

3) If you answered (b) to the last two questions, would you like to be

a) buried, or

b) cremated?

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Lowering of Standards

I've just had a look at: http://store.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/pdf/87313.PDF

This is the 'test' for the ability to make a cup of tea, nowadays. When I was 12 years old I was making tea for all my family, in a proper teapot using real loose leaf tea with water that boiled on a gas ring and had to be turned off by hand when it boiled.

Nowadays, they use an automatic electric kettle, they make one cup of tea in the cup using a tea bag and they add milk without asking if milk is required (but at least they check if sugar is required).

At this rate, in 10-15 years time, the only cups of tea available will be from vending machines. Sighs, grumbles, world going to hell in a handcart, etc.

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Coffee/keyboard

"Mad for it!!"

"Maybe he wasn't up to it."

Classic!! New Keyboard please, Bobby!

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Not daft, but...

Yes, it is something that not everyone learns. Way back, when I was living in a one-bus-a-week village (but we were on the bus route, said the Estate Agent), I wouldn't have been able to pass it. The first time I visited Birmingham (in 1982) I couldn't find the bus stops, so I walked from New Street Station to my hotel. Not a long walk (Snow Hill Queensway was near the hotel, I think).

And with modern printers, the certificates are likely cheap enough.

But I'm more proud of being a NaNoWriMo winner than of being able to catch a bus.

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WTF?

@Before you mock ... and Tch, kids these days.

>" ... remember that not everyone is as fortunate as you are. Many of the users of the service I work for would find this a challenge, and it would represent a considerable achievement. They would be justifiably very proud of this certificate. "

But this isn't an award for quadriplegics, agoraphobics or downs' syndrome kids, it's an award for the fully mentally competent and able-bodied majority, and *that's* why it's stupid, and that *is* after engaging brains and thinking about it.

When I was 9 or 10 (late '70s) I used to travel all over London on my own on busses and tubes, my favourite way to waste a Saturday afternoon was to buy a ticket from my local tube stop to the next one up the road and then spend hours travelling to random out-of-the-way places and back again before getting off one stop from where I started, or going down to Heathrow to watch the 'planes or the West End to play video games. I would have laughed at 11-15 year-olds who didn't know how to get around on their own.

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WTF?

I want one

Given how expensive a bus fare is these days (especially when you consider the 'unique customer service experience' most bus drivers tend to have), I want a qualification. Hell, I could probably get a mail order degree for the cost of a weeks bus journeys in Leicester.

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Ralph...

Ejumacation is a wonderful thing, but, to paraphrase a great thinker of our time;

'Fail getting on the bus? That's unpossible'

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Coat

Is this the result...

...of the modern Surveillance State?

Mine's the one with the GPS tracker inside...

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Alien

Re: what next....

@cookieMonster

"a certificate for successfully taking a crap?"

Well .... having just listened to the adult (male) in the next cubicle he was able to take a crap while talking to his mate on the mobile. Does using the phone at the same time mean a pass or a fail. But he forgot the washing hands bit afterwards.

Overall, I think this behaviour rates a fail in the "taking a crap" assessment.

So, perhaps a certificate for successfully taking a crap isn't such a daft idea.

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WTF?

FFS - Making a cold drink

This is awesome - could keep me laughing all weekend.... for example

demonstrated the ability to

1. select a glass or cup from a crockery storage

area;

2. take a container of cordial from a given

selection;

3. remove the lid from the container;

4. pour an appropriate amount of cordial into

the cup or glass;

5. replace the cap on the container;

6. identify a cold-water tap;

7. turn on the tap;

8. place the cup or glass under the tap;

9. fill the cup or glass to an appropriate level

with water

10. turn off the tap when the cup or glass is

sufficiently full;

11. stir the cordial and water to mix them

together;

12. carry out the operation on at least three

occasions, with verbal prompting as

appropriate;

There's bound to be an award somewhere for turning the telly on to Jeremy Kyle!!!

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Paris Hilton

The sad thing is ...

... he's now permanently overqualified for a government job, because he's clearly not stupid enough to come up with an idea like this test.

Paris, she looks genius next to government wastoids

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Kiddies do get on the wrong bus sometimes by mistake

Well, they used to anyway, which was part of being 5 years old and on your own in a world of big red buses. Is there's also a corresponding qualification for being able to roll into the family chelsea tractor at home, and roll out of it again at the school gate?

Having driven thru Bury recently, I think the purpose here is not to bury Bury but to praise it. It's raised a lot of laffs, not least in Bury,so job done. Now, to get AQA to concentrate on marking real exams properly. And nu liebore on jobs in Bury.

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Joke

And for some other courses

have a look here

http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/uas/units/life.php

There is already one for making a cup of tea. You can also get a certificate in washing your hands or dressing yourself.

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@ Dave 142

Heh, I never cease to be amazed by how people catching the university bus here can't handle things like: moving towards the back when standing and 20 more people want to get on; bags don't get their own seat; reading the posted route map (they aren't even covered in spray paint yet); or waiting for people to get off before charging into the doorway (and not crowding around outside the doorway so there is no path for people to get off via). The concept that you don't have to panic if a bus that comes every 10 minutes pulls away without you escapes them too.

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Paris Hilton

Dressing and undressing

Unit 89751 Dressing and Undressing Oneself is interesting.

OUTCOMES TO BE ACCREDITED

In successfully completing this unit the

student will have

demonstrated the ability to

1. recognise at least six items of clothing;

2. remove and put on own clothes

correctly;

3. manipulate at least three fastenings

properly, e.g. zips, laces, buckles.

EVIDENCE TO BE OFFERED

Youth leader completed itemised checklist and/or

video evidence of the session (1-3).

They are actually going to video a kid dressing and undressing! I wonder how many laws that breaks.

Paris because she probably has a PHD in the subject

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Cleaning keyboards

A CEO of a computer software company once wrote a piece about cleaning computer keyboards that involved taking the item into the shower with you. The drawback of the method was that the drying out time was several days, otherwise quick and convenient.

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Headmaster

You lot can scoff

... but I bet Gordon Brown couldn't achieve this.

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@ @Andy Hockey

It doesn't cover returning the purchase to Argos when you find it's a customer return with half the bits missing.

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It's a special needs school

The school in the story, the Elms School Knowsley, is a special needs school. According to an Ofsted report: 'The Elms draws pupils from the borough of Knowsley and is the only school catering for pupils and students with severe, profound and multiple needs, and autism.' Here is a link to the report:

** http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/oxedu_reports/display/(id)/55038 **

So the whole thing is a non-story. I suppose with severely disabled students like this, one has to have some sort of goals and some sort of system to show that they have been met.

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@It's a special needs school

Non-story or not, the family took it to the media, and made it sound silly. So i don't see the comments as out of place.

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Smug reporting, but rather abusive

The certificate is, as others have said, aimed at young people with learning disability. The youth leader seems not to have understood this, if the reporting in The Daily Telegraph is to be trusted. Which it often isn't. The AQA qualifications body has made it clear that it expects people with the appropriate level of ability to be entered for it - plainly this didn't happen. The paper seems to have twisted it as an example of the dumbing down of society or something.

And The Register has swallowed their spin.

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Anonymous Coward

I IZ L33T

I CAN RIDE DE BUZ

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Life skills

What a lot of people miss is that for many severely disabled people they need to know they'll get the appropriate care when they're older. In many cases these qualifications serve a dual purpose.

Firstly, it awards a child who may struggle with doing even the simplest things a sense of achievement. My wife is dyslexic and has just completed an adult numeracy course. I can honestly say the sense of achievement for her in earning a pass in adult numeracy is far greater than any sense of achievement I ever got for passing my O Levels. My eldest daughter is also dyslexic and I'm always immensely proud when I see her even reading a book as I know she finds reading difficult. I'm also proud of my youngest daughter's achievements but not to the same degree as I'm acutely aware that she finds the level of school work that she currently has to be beneath her ability.

Secondly, for the more severely disabled who will remain with some sort of long term care it allows the authorities to tailor their care. A good friend of mine has 2 children with brain damage. They'll never be able to live independently. However they both have good life skills. It's important to know how well they can cope so that the health services know how to look after them. An award in making a cup of tea seems a joke but it tells a health care worker that the person they are looking after can be allowed to do some things for themselves. An award for dressing themselves may mean they don't need someone there 24/7, they can at least wake up and go to bed on their own with some dignity.

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I'd love my son to pass this...

He is 11 with severe learning difficulties and will probably never be able to use a bus alone - he can't even speak properly yet. I don't take offence at any of the comments above because I know what El Reg commentards are like and know that the comments are tounge in cheek.

What really amazes me apart from the Daily Mail readers who honestly believe that this is meant as a GCSE certificate (and make really retarded comments about slipping standard, NuLab and the rest), is that the boy's parents decided to go to the Daily Mail with their story instead of just throwing the certificate in the bin if they thought it that worthless.

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FAIL

It's not a special needs school, it's not a cert aimed at "young people with learning disability"

It's got nothing to do with his school. He was given the award "on a Bury and Rochdale Activity Generation outdoor activities scheme, run by Bury Youth Services". The Telegraph story has even more detail:

>"a summer activities scheme called BRAG (Bury and Rochdale Active Generation). This is a two-week programme of sports, dance, and arts events, run through Bury Youth Service, with events taking place at several venues across Bury and Heywood."

Since "300 of his fellow 11 to 15-year-old participants [ ... ] were similarly honoured", and since there are only 109 pupils at the school you mentioned (see? I *did* read the link), that pretty much proves my point that this is a general award for the able-bodied, and therefore a stupid thing.

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Other awards worthy of the bin

When I went through Sandhurst, the army was going through (yet another) review of what civilian qualifications could be obtained on the back of military training (and yes there is a lot more training than shouting at people and killing them). The big rage of the moment was NVQs. I enquired thinking that some sort of' managing people' or 'planning' or 'leadership' qualification would be available.

The answer came back that I was able to apply for the grandly titled qualification 'keeping fit'.

I didn't bother

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Anonymous Coward

Public transit

8 years ago I had to take a bus in San Francisco. Just one tiny problem. The bus regularly ran late. How did the mayor fix this problem. He took down the published schedules on the bus stops. . About %20 of the bus stops had no route maps. Now they did have the published times and route on the net .

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Dead Vulture

Hopeless

A signifcant number of commenters would fail skills at this level. Two poked fun at the making a cup of tea, and another at the making a cold drink certificates. Not actually noticing that these are explicitly tagged as "special", as in "special needs" certificates.

The Register similarly fails in its reporting of the story. It seems nobody bothered to check why these certificates exits, and how they are meant to be used - but rather jumped on the "coffee on keyboard" or "we are all doomed" bandwagon. The only reason we might all be doomed is because idiots like you fail to bother to find anything out before spouting off.

The AQA exists as a central authority that essentially provides a unified source of cources and certificates, and probably most importantly, a quality control process for these. Any associated centre can use or contribute units. Not just ordinary schools and youth groups, but also special needs, "offender learning", homeless youth schemes, and many others can and do use the AQA, and the list of life skills certificates cited represents the combined set of all such certificates.

I well remember a friend of mine telling me the heartwrenching story of how she had tried to get her Aspbergers suffering nephew to catch a train to her house. She coached him though it, took him on the journey once, and yet the one time he tried on his own he couldn't manage it. Yet he attended an ordinary school, as was not actually a special needs person. The point? Different people have a widely different set of needs for education and skills training. You don't have to be "special needs" to need training in what, for many people, are trivial skills. Lamblasting the existence of a range of training units and certificates because you personally find the content trivial, is simply exhibiting a crass lack of regard and empathy for your fellow humankind.

The real story, had el Reg bothered, is that someone made a mistake, and issued a certificate in the wrong circumstances. The core story is, that as usual, a daily newpaper could not be bothered finding anything out, and decided to use it as a beat up story. If el Reg though this was a story worth telling they would have taken the Telegraph to task over the poor journalism involved. As it was, all we see is even worse journalism.

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Anonymous Coward

@IISRT

Re "Although, having a 15yo take this course seems unnecessary."

That's the point....

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Paris Hilton

In the interest of Public Awareness

I'm happy to donate some spare time in teaching Paris Hilton the nuances of course 89751

- "Undressing and dressing oneself"...

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not all kids are raised by real parents

There is a residential high school/ school- to- work vocational training center in my town that does a pretty good job at giving its graduates not just academic schooling but the life skills many kids don't get at "home". To wit, they asked for volunteers to come in and work with youth, saying that ALL skills need to be taught, from cleaning floors to making beds to reading grocery labels because many of these kids were raised by sperm and/or egg donors and not parents in any meaningful sense of the word. So while the cert for using mass transit successfully is probably not useful to the youth in the story, there are many kids who would need to be taught this and other skills that most of us should be able to take for granted. It's a disheartening reality, but there it is.

And then there's the whole world of learning and physical disability.

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FAIL

House of Commons

"waiting for people to get off before charging into the doorway (and not crowding around outside the doorway so there is no path for people to get off"

Our leaders fail this every time they vote in the House of Commons. I find it so irritating when they hang around the entrance to the Commons, nattering, whilst their colleagues have to negotiate a path through them. Idiots!

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FAIL

Past the bus

Over 60, I had to get a country bus to collect my new car. 10 minutes on the internet to find out how, ask in the local shop to find out where the stop was. Miss the first one, having been on the wrong side of the crossroads. Pay £9. Now I'm researching a free bus pass in case I live to buy another car. Used to use London buses, but now you can't hop off if they turn the wrong corner. Fail.

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Flame

@Rachel Greenham

You're assuming that the brother was tall enough to peek through the window whilst sitting down or otherwise. If he wasn't then there can only be 3 conclusions:

1 - Brother is way too interested in something else like playing gameboy or psp or reading than entertaining his mind by looking out of the bus window

2 - The brother is a midget in which case not recieving the certificate accounts to disability discrimincation

3 - the kid didn't take the bus and instead cycled, walked, rolled, ran, flew to skool. That's if he went to skool at all that day :)

If I get one of those, I'm definately putting that a4 paper in my NRA.

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Badgers

Other Qualifications...

...include "Elementary Car Driving Techniques", which requires you to know the layout of "major controls" such as "breaks" (sic) and "rear view mirror".

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Coat

Challenge!

I challenge the hacks at El Reg to pass this test on a Friday night!

Self-induced "learning challenged". Yep, OK.

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Headmaster

< twat didnt add title >

I failed this test, I was doing so well until it came to 'Looking through the window' bit. It was at this point I realised I should of been looking out the window, not in. I must have accidently skipped one of the pages, the bit that said 'Get on the Bus' - Dammit!

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