Surely this is just good preparation for the world of work?
A computer science exam paper set by the Scottish Qualifications Authority was infested with errors and an impossible question, prompting teachers to call for an immediate inquiry. Teachers have expressed their disappointment, calling the paper “a disgrace”, especially since it comes at a time where the subject faces an “ …
Try preparing a response to a tender document. You're stuck with what's written - there's little scope to ask questions, and you spend most of your time second-guessing what the poor civil servant who wrote the thing was trying to say. Extra points if it comes from a non-English-speaking country.
"Is this some strange backwards exam where failing it actually indicates a pass?"
Only if and when a cattle-prod is properly applied in the correct context and tense. The application must be made in presence of the examiner. [50 marks]
Enid Blyton's "Dame Slap the Teacher" in the Faraway Tree series
Not having read that particular series of books, my thought process when I read your comment went:
1) "Dame slap"? Is that a classier, more aristocratic equivalent of the expression "to bitch slap" someone?
2) If so, I really don't remember that kind of thing in Blyton books.Did my parents shield me from the ruder editions?
3) In what other ways was my childhood excessively sheltered???? Did you lie to me, Mother???
Thank you for that short existential crisis.
Because every day in my career in IT I am confronted by the thundering realities of having to understand the weight of a tablet. I'm genuinely interested in undertanding (A) what the full question related to that news snippet is, and (B) what possible reason it has doing on a formal Computer Science exam paper?
The Indians in Mumbai must be laughing their collective asses off.
If your tablet weighs 65kg, it must be full of the wiruses and malwares. Don't worry though, because "David" from the Microsofts Customer Technical department will be calling you shortly. To save some time you could get your event viewer open now and have a look at all the errors. Keep your credit card handy.
Back in the mists of time, whilst unemployed for a while, having no paper qualifications in IT, I decided to take some to prove to some extent that I actually could do what I had in fact been doing for some years. I had to take a level 2 before they;d let me do level 3. OK, level 2 was just a case of a little writing and filling in a montain of paperwork, which I got done in about a fortnight. This just about proved that I knew what a PC was, could turn it on, and fire up Excel.
Level 3 was with a different training provider, involved programming and was riddled with factual errors. I pointed this out to the training providers, who denied responsibility, saying that the content was created by another body. So I complained to them and they denied responsibility, saying that the content was approved by HM Government. HM Govt denied responsibility saying the factual accuracy was a matter for the training providers and the company producing the material.
This left me with the option of deliberately giving incorrect answers in order to get a pass, or insisting on giving correct answers and arguing the fail result later. I took option three, left the course, sent a letter explaining why to all three bodies concerned, and made sure my fellow students knew about the errors in the course. A few months later, I was back in work on the strength of my CV rather than qualifications.
Sad to see that after all this time it looks as if not much has changed.
I had this issue quite a lot with IT/CompSci questions at school. This is 20 years ago, before many of these were electronic or multiple choice exams, so I could write what I liked on the answer paper. So I would tend to answer the question as written, with the disclaimer "based on the question as written, which appears to be in error, the answer would be..." then I would also answer the question that they appeared to be actually asking. I'm not sure that approach helped me, I think I just got branded a smart ass.
-- Sad to see that after all this time it looks as if not much has changed. --
Indeed. As your tale contains words like "PC" and "Excel", I can guess it occurred a few years after my experience.
About to head off from two years at a local Junior College to "The Big U", I thought, "Might as well see if I can pick up a more appropriate job this summer than last summer's stint replacing auto tires with levers and spoons" (ask your granddad) so I took the Civil Service Exam. By the first few questions, I could tell that although it was 1969, the IBM360 had been introduced in 1965, and the 1401 was due to be discontinued in only 3 more years, the questions were clearly written from the point of view that "characters" were 6 bits, cards were invariably 80 columns, tape had seven channels, RPG was a hot new technology (ask your grandad again) etc. As I had attended a sufficiently backwater college, I was familiar with such things as Collators, Interpreters (that printed info on cards), accounting machines, Verifiers (mind the notch) etc. So I resolved to give the RIGHT, Wrong Answers.
Just before end of summer, the Civil Service board got back to me with an offer, not for a summer job, but a full time position at a princely (from my blue collar perspective) salary. I decided to stay a student, and within a mere 12 years had matched that salary, but had nice diploma, in Latin, yet.
The exam was outsourced to the lowest cost offshore company, and written by someone for whom English is a second (more likely third or fourth) language.
Then it was QA'd by a similar team who's methodology was , do nothing until just before the release deadline, while complaining about work load , then just tick all the boxes on the test plan and declare it passed.
Then sent direct to the printers by a onshore "manager" who understands nothing of the subject in question.
here's what's covered, courtesy of the BBC
Having not done National 5 (went straight from Standard grade to Higher in my day, none of these intermediate qualifications malarkey) I think the weight of the tablet may be in the technical implementation section, along the lines of "you have a list of stuff, weights given, what's the best spec for a tablet computer weighing X, and why have you chosen them ?"
Wrong in what way? It looks OK to me. SELECT * FROM StudentLocker ORDER BY YearGroup ASC, LockerNumber DESC
ORDER BY HouseName, LockerNumber gives the same result, but that isn't the point, I think.
The punctuation goes wrong when it starts talking about football.
"The second level of sorting only takes place when there are any matches, like a phone book with people with the same surname. They are then compared on forename or in football tables when teams have the same points. They are then sorted on goals scored."
It should say:
"The second level of sorting only takes place when there are identical values in the first level, like a phone book with people with the same surname. They are then compared on forename. Or, in football tables when teams have the same points, they are then sorted on professional fouls."
When Volkswagen cleans up ITS act in order to pass its test, and blows smoke the rest of the time.
Tests are tests, and instructors (or car manufacturers) will teach to the test if they know the subject matter. Then after the test is passed, life goes on and we get sloppy programmers/cars.
I am absolutely not surprised about this.
This High School Exam setting and marking organisation *was* based entirely at a quiet pretty traditional location near Edinburgh in Dalkeith, the town centre of which is scummy enough at the best of times - going to Greggs is a cultural event there, so is a stabbing - but totally lost its academic cred when it joined up organisationally with the techie college "cert in Hospitality" exam board types in offices in Weegieland in the West.
What I mean is, High School exams used to be VERY accurate and respectable in Scotland. Intellectually rigorous even. The (back then only) Dalkeith office used to be really decent.
Then after that they lost written exam papers *inside their own building* for weeks, for pity's sake. Add some out of control abusive (sexist, bullying) local plebs hired by equally plebby managers far away in Weegieland .... I am allowed to say the young ones were mostly ex-Forces and not the brightest, yes? Can I also mention, hugely, comically, absurdly FAT and DUMB Weegie managers inflicted remotely on some of the Dalkeith staff? (my sis is an honorary Weegie so I can!)
There are some good people in there, some very academic, but mightily oppressed and some just serving out their time, some using maximum protection of unions to keep the abuse to a minimum (some of the abusers get fired every so often I suppose) ! Reverse snobbery could be a big problem there in my opinion. If you're not sufficiently intellectually stupid, and not a dodgy grafting chancer, you get mobbed.
I did tell the intellectual ones what "Brain Dumps" were, just to f**k the stupid people up before I went though.
They were slightly surprised but very interested!
Flame me if you like, I know what i saw! ;)
"[...] quiet pretty traditional location near Edinburgh in Dalkeith, [...]"
It was once the location of a thriving IT office in the former stately home of the Lord of Buccleuch. Established so the story goes to attract Scots back from the computer industry in England. In the first winter they were still refitting the building from its dilapidated state of a war time forces' billet. The cavernous Georgian rooms were heated by roaring log fires in the enormous fireplaces.
A few people moved to have the opportunity to have a base near the Munros and other climbing opportunities. One day a member of staff was demonstrating a climbing technique by scaling up the wall of the main entrance. After everyone had gone inside a manager appeared and tried to do it too - unsuccessfully to everyone's amusement.
The building was said to be haunted. Most hair-raising sensations were produced by the wind and the night-time prowling of the large mouser tom cat - Fritz?
On the day the announcement was made for the office to be closed it was said that other IT companies in the area had people waiting outside - recruiting whole teams intact. Several well known companies like OWL and Spider were also founded from this. It would not be a surprise if the marking board also had its genesis for the same reason.
For the downvoter, I wasn't joking, a stabbing happened for no particular reason in plain view on a street nearer the town centre when I was working there. Plus if its any consolation I actually liked getting bizarre combos of things out of Greggs just to wind people up (plus it was tasty if not certifiably healthy as such).
Had a look at the link, and the first complete line of text I found was "Information systems are used to store and present information to users. " To me, this sounds like very bad English. (As written it means that Information systems are used to store information to users, and to present information to users).
I didn't bother reading any further.
But then someone posted "The exam was outsourced to the lowest cost offshore company, and written by someone for whom English is a second (more likely third or fourth) language."
This one looks very much like an "English as first and only language" mistake to me.
Regrettably, I've worked with quite a number of people whose first and only language is English, who were nevertheless barely capable of writing a meaningful, mistake-free and precise sentence. This is in an industry where precision and the avoidance of misunderstanding is often a matter of importance.
I'm only reporting what I've seen and read. I don't know why it is so; did we go through a long period where educational policy (for which I do not blame the teachers, who were or are only implementing policy) determined that it wasn't of sufficient importance?
Yep we did, according to my teacher aunt approximately 1972 or so was when it started going pear-shaped :) Makes sense, my high school French teacher head of department was still trying to teach us with non-revised traditional materials up to 1985 or so ... the ones *without* the Bob Marley references in them :)
Our technical high school. along with the other academic high schools, was absorbed into local area comprehensives. Our campus was the most modern - so was extended to accommodate the much larger pupil roll. Many of our specialist teachers also continued teaching at the new school.
Our art teacher had a memoir that he updated after each stage of his life. The chapter for the 1970/80s period as a comprehensive catalogues declining academic standards. Pupil discipline apparently turned into near anarchy. Several other teachers later expressed the same views verbally.
My lad was the only one in his class to pass the first year of an A level IT class - at Grade E. Year 2 of the course was cancelled. This was at what is supposed to be one of the most academically successful state schools in the area (Sheffield). Telling the story to a teacher at another school she said "oh is that the school that taught the wrong IT syllabus".
They (the management) were all for cancelling the Electronics A level college course I attended after the first year because one student dropped out. I managed to wangle an unemployed (self taught) friend of mine onto it by the pair of us blatantly lying about his qualifications: he had none so we had to! The two lecturers and the other students were all in on it. The former because of their pay, the latter because we'd have been stuffed for getting into university.
You don't just cancel a course just because the numbers have dropped below an arbitrary threshold!
Needless to say, that kind of shady management got the college where it is today. College -> Poly -> University.
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