Rant: Physics

Apparently, science is too hard for students in Britain. This exam is their answer.

For reference, page 34 of this pdf has some sample SAT physics questions. The exams in question are analogous to the SATs to an extent. They are taken around the same age, and serve many of the same purposes.

I am aware that not everyone has a knack for physics. I am aware that not everyone easily understands science. I am aware that some students are just really, really bad at studying. I am aware I don't know the UK's education systems well enough to be an authoritative commentator. However, I am not aware of any high school level physics exam that is a greater waste of time and resources that this.

Is science really that hard? Is there some magic to my brain that isn't present in others?

Call me elitist, but people who failed Physics should be able to score high marks on an exam like this. It's the biggest joke of an exam I've ever seen. If my child came home with this exam in high school I'd go ballistic. Fourth graders should know 90% of what's on that exam.

Maybe I'm delusional, maybe I've lost touch with how hard things really were back before college, but I'm beside myself in terror that this is what people are being tested against. I think I'd cry myself to sleep if my high schooler came home after being one of the apparent 55% who couldn't score an average level grade on this exam.

I'm going to have to guess that there are simply enough people like me in Britain that the statistic is skewed by people storming out of the examination room in disgust at the insult.


Anonymous said...

As an ex physics jock, I don't consider the average level of the questions insulting to a 10th grader. What bothers me is that for questions 1,19,20, and 30, none of the multiple choice options is correct. The best students will know that they are about to be punished for their knowledge.

kalliope said...

I know that the UK educational system is not the best, and I consider myself lucky to have enjoyed the German one (even if that isn't perfect either), but quite frankly, the US educational system is usually referred to as being much worse....

As always, there are exceptions. Exceptional schools and students.

Matoushin said...

I'll admit I'm not terribly familiar with the various education systems of various nations and so on and so forth. Maybe it was being homeschooled that granted me some knowledge not common to the public education system in the US. In any case, I simply saw what I believed to be a hideous failure of another education system.

I'd agree, however, that overall the US is likely worse. For fairness sake, I'll make a post on that subject that will be cut and past from some comments I made on another blog's youtube link.