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Dumbing-down in Polish schools and the Matura


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
15 May 2011 #1
Down-dumbing has been a feature of the US educational system under the rule of the PC dictatorship. Everyone gets whisked through, no-one flunks, and morons are at most 'scholastically challenged'. That has gone hand in hand with growing toleration of pupil misbehaviour.

I hear that this year the Polish language matura in Poland was extremely simplified. Is the same development the US is suffering from spreading to Poland?

I'd be esp. interested to hear what professional teachers on PF have to say about lowered scholastic standards and the breakdown of discipline.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
15 May 2011 #2
the PC dictatorship

The what?

morons are at most 'scholastically challenged

'Scholastically challenged' is a phrase I've never come across either during teacher training, in the classroom (when I was a Special Needs Teacher for 7 years) or since.

Interesting what you think of less able children - 'morons' is a nasty word that says more about you than about the children with special needs that you cruelly call 'morons'.

Given that you trumpet on ad nauseam about Christian values in other threads, perhaps you should check out what the bible says about the less able amongst us.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,719
15 May 2011 #3
I hear that this year the Polish language matura in Poland was extremely simplified.

Not true. In fact, what's actually happening in Poland is that the system is becoming more based around students being able to think, as opposed to being able to recite endless facts which are forgotten about 10 seconds after the exam.

I'd be esp. interested to hear what professional teachers on PF have to say about lowered scholastic standards and the breakdown of discipline.

Problems in Polish classrooms with discipline is due to two simple reasons - lack of professional management and lack of effective punishments.

As for lower standards - there's no evidence of this, except that the brightest students perhaps find it easier to use their brains under the new system than the "rote-learning" of the old system.
gumishu 11 | 5,016
15 May 2011 #4
Polonius - you have a point

just to point some exapmle I am familiar with - lesson of German language in elementary school (12 year-olds) - the teacher allows kids to use their notes and books to complete tests - this is how certain educational 'goals' are achieved - either there is lack of dedication of the teacher (or teachers in general) or the goals are set too high - (the example I given is what I am familiar with but I you can hear it is common and has its specific roots)
delphiandomine 83 | 17,719
15 May 2011 #5
A bit of both, I suspect. I've always thought that schools should have autonomy in deciding how they get to a certain 'end' level - rather than the current system where they must slavishly follow THE PROGRAMME, set centrally without any reference to local needs and conditions.

But then again, with the lack of professional management, it's no surprise.

As for using notes and books - well, open book tests are a feature of many education systems. Finding the information and then applying it is certainly a good test. Not all the time, of course - but certainly some of the time.

One big problem in Poland is the obsession with everything being measurable - I've came across this in many different guises, and sometimes, you simply cannot mark these things.

I have one class at the minute which is assessed and graded. I've actually chosen to only award the top grade to those who not only learn everything, but who show interest and enthusiasm in the classes. It's not going to be enough to turn up and listen - I'm looking for intelligent questions to be asked, too.
gumishu 11 | 5,016
15 May 2011 #6
As for using notes and books - well, open book tests are a feature of many education systems. Finding the information and then applying it is certainly a good test. Not all the time, of course - but certainly some of the time.

it may be all right in various fields - but not in speaking a foreign language - you don't have time to look for the basic words if you are to communicate in a foreign language - why would you learn a foreign language if you actually won't speak it anyway - so there is something (or rather plenty) wrong with the appraoch to teaching foreign languages

Problems in Polish classrooms with discipline is due to two simple reasons - lack of professional management and lack of effective punishments.

you can't do much as a teacher - even if the pupil is doing very bad you risk a lot trying to stop his promotion - so you don't have instruments to punish the indisciplined (and we are talking of things like serious anti-social behaviour)
southern 75 | 7,096
15 May 2011 #7
Dumbing down is a widespread method of middle class to promote their incompetent offsprings.It is maked under the pretense of mass education while in reality it is exclusion of students with high IQ lacking the necessary social background.

This dumbing down has led to a massive promotion of incompetent people to crucial positions who are largely responsible for the crisis.It is a structural problem with political roots and political consequences and cannot be solved given the current balances of power.
gumishu 11 | 5,016
15 May 2011 #8
Dumbing down is a widespread method of middle class to promote their incompetent offsprings.It is maked under the pretense of mass education while in reality it is exclusion of students with high IQ lacking the necessary social background.

very good point - probably more than applicable to Poland
southern 75 | 7,096
15 May 2011 #9
I see what the hypocrites do here in Greece and mind you everything is agreed upon by both left and right parties because both extract benefit.

It is totally forbidden to talk about these issues in mass media controlled by them and if you try to do there are threats of direct violence and financial consequences.

Lately I have started talking openly about these issues and I noticed that they try to befriend me to silence.
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
15 May 2011 #10
PC = political correctness
frd 7 | 1,399
15 May 2011 #11
I partially agree. I remember that several years ago, the matura exam's difficulty level was varied across different regions of Poland due to these region's difference in education. For instance rural areas close to the east borders had it easier. Of course the main goal was for schools in different regions of Poland to have appropriate average scores.

I also remember from when I was younger, that there were special classess for kids who were better in certian subjects. They even created special groups for these better kids. Later on I heard that the idea got abandoned and that supposedly it's better to have a mixed children class.
southern 75 | 7,096
15 May 2011 #12
Yes,political correctness.Do you know what they do?They dumb down the tests so their offsprings can pass and then exclude the others by some simple measures which are:

1.Taking ancestry into account
2.Taking financial condition of parents into account
etc.

It is a difficult problem.Generally the middle class does not accept that their offsprings should compete in equal terms with the offsprings of other classes.So it offers the following possibilities:

1.Easier tests for their offsprings
2.The same difficulty but less strict evaluation
3.Lower average as base to pass
4.Oral exams favoring the offsprings
5.Competing for different positions where other offsprings are not allowed to compete

They say if you don't accept one of the above 5 methods then you should take ancestry and financial condition into account for admission otherwise we do not recognize the admission process and press the law makers.

All their methods are quite clear,always the same and totally boring as the sh1t in which they are now.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 May 2011 #13
I think you meant to say 'dumbing-down', Pol3. My question to you, Pol3, is how you feel that those who set the national curriculum could mask such a thing? How would they stand up to scrutiny? Also, don't forget the statistical dimension that educational institutes love to draw attention to. They can paint a false picture, yes, but they have a ready defence.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,719
15 May 2011 #14
it may be all right in various fields - but not in speaking a foreign language - you don't have time to look for the basic words if you are to communicate in a foreign language - why would you learn a foreign language if you actually won't speak it anyway - so there is something (or rather plenty) wrong with the appraoch to teaching foreign languages

A lot of that is due to the fact that the vast majority of talented people in languages won't go anywhere near a school - I know several, qualified (to teach) individuals who would make fantastic teachers. But they won't do it - not for the pitiful salary and conditions on offer.

But again - the rigid system stops them offering higher salaries to attract the best. The way that foreign languages are taught is really a disgrace - and yes, I agree, it's the Government's job to sort it out. For me, it's one example where Tusk has miserably failed.

you can't do much as a teacher - even if the pupil is doing very bad you risk a lot trying to stop his promotion - so you don't have instruments to punish the indisciplined (and we are talking of things like serious anti-social behaviour)

You can do pretty much nothing - I was shocked to discover that teachers can't even send children to stand in the corridor, which was a standard punishment for us.

very good point - probably more than applicable to Poland

Definitely more than applicable. The lack of transparency in many cases is just shocking - even to the point where the people taking English language medical courses are getting a far easier time than Polish language courses. It's an utter disgrace - and as I said - Tusk's government has failed badly in respects to education.

It might surprise you, but my personal feeling is that PO are doing a horrible job with education. The higher education reforms are good, but they don't go far enough - and they still don't address the issue that Poland is producing vast amounts of poor quality graduates. The utter failure to get a grip on universities opening endless new (and pointless) departments is just one example among many. And now - there's no President Kaczynski to veto anything - so no excuses. I can understand putting off pension reform, but reforming education wouldn't hurt anyone.

My favourite though, is the way that teachers are on a 18+2 hour (one hour being 45 minutes) week. I mean - seriously? Why on earth so little?

4.Oral exams favoring the offsprings

Big problem in law, medicine, etc. in Poland.
southern 75 | 7,096
15 May 2011 #15
Also, don't forget the statistical dimension that educational institutes love to draw attention to. They can paint a false picture

The statistical dimension you refer to is a pain for the ass of the middle class and its offsprings.They manipulate it heavily that is they use common fallacies to interpret it and all this is publicised in normal press.In reality they use very genuine analysis when they press for the laws securing the interests of their offsprings and sometimes you can expose them for using double language.(they write one thing in press and use another thing for justification of law measures).

Another thing they use is guilt.They say "you should be ashamed for passing such easy exams where everyone passes" when the reality is they made the exams easier for the incompetent ofsprings to pass and so it is easy to pass without difficulty."So I say to them get feked show me your offspring and put me the same tests and I will demolish him.But you as a sh1tter and a fag know the real capabilities of your offspring and will never show him to compete against him in equal terms.So I spit on you and I will fek you till your eyes bleed."

Also I do not recognize any attempts of persons unrelated to exam competitions to manipulate the tests in such ways that the persons who have better knowledge cannot get better grade due to manipulation in the levels of difficulty,grading etc.I am in for an open and known system of grading and not for a secret one.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
15 May 2011 #16
effective punishments.

What type of punishments to they use in the Polish education system?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,719
15 May 2011 #17
Next to nothing is available - it's impossible to even suspend a child from school. You can give them bad "behaviour grades" - but someone who wants to cause trouble is hardly going to be affected by that.

Not helped, of course, by the way that school directors are elected rather than being promoted.
gumishu 11 | 5,016
15 May 2011 #18
My favourite though, is the way that teachers are on a 18+2 hour (one hour being 45 minutes) week. I mean - seriously? Why on earth so little?

most teachers will not bear much more anyway
southern 75 | 7,096
15 May 2011 #19
Big problem in law, medicine, etc. in Poland.

In oral exams proffessors can pass whoever they want on will.What they do?Simply they find a subject where the student is weak after scanning all over the material with questions and then they ask him only questions on the subject he is weak till he fails.On the other hand they ask childishly easy questions to the examinee they want to pass or have much favourable grading.

Here is an advice I read in a greek magazine:"When the proffessor asks a question about a subject you know very well,start speaking slowly with mistakes and stuttering.He will assume that you don't know the subject and start asking questions exclusively about it.Then you start miraculously answering correctly in detail and you pass."
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
15 May 2011 #20
"behaviour grades" - but someone who wants to cause trouble is hardly going to be affected by that.

some are when they have to repeat a school year.

but usually the teacher gives way at the end of term in order to get rid of the pupil.

i don't think there is too much dumbing down in schools. in university, yes.

the school exam system is always going through change, which may make it seem like dumbing down.
Bartolome 2 | 1,085
15 May 2011 #21
middle class

In Poland? In 2009 only 4% of taxpayers earned more than 50k ZLP/a
egospodarka.pl/50809,Rosnie-polska-klasa-srednia,1,39,1.html (link in Polish, sorry).

It is still very under-represented class in Poland. It grows in Poland, but you can't apply the same criteria of assessment you have in Greece to Poland.

Let's hope that the amendment of the Higher Education Act will significantly improve Polish education. We need better quality, not quantity.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,719
15 May 2011 #22
In oral exams proffessors can pass whoever they want on will.What they do?Simply they find a subject where the student is weak after scanning all over the material with questions and then they ask him only questions on the subject he is weak till he fails.On the other hand they ask childishly easy questions to the examinee they want to pass or have much favourable grading.

Exactly the same situation in Poland.

Oral exams should only, only be used for either language study, or in the defence of the thesis. Apart from that? No way - it's too open to abuse.

(and heck, it's human - if you hate a student, you're going to punish him with difficult questions)
Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 May 2011 #23
Good reply, southern. I never liked the elitism in the Scottish system and I think it could be even worse here. It seems to me that far too much emphasis is placed on getting 5's but shoulders are then shrugged when many don't find jobs thereafter. I find it disgusting, tbh. More vocational courses with sufficient work experience is what is needed. I can understand a little dumbing down in order to get more through and have fewer disenchanted individuals but, as so often in life, it's a case of balance.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,719
15 May 2011 #24
It seems to me that far too much emphasis is placed on getting 5's but shoulders are then shrugged when many don't find jobs thereafter.

Oh, totally.

Yet many actual employers tell me that grades don't matter -what matters is experience. I've asked many people the same question - and I'm told the same thing - grades don't matter, but experience is king.
Monia
15 May 2011 #25
Big problem in law, medicine, etc. in Poland.

What kind of a problem ? Are you a lawyer to have such deep argumentative conclusions about this subject pertaining to Poland ?

In a field of law it is very important to have also oral exams ; oral exams are as much important as written . Being a lawyer myself I know personally that for a lawyer it is so vital to have outstanding speech, communication, comprehension abilities . In such a stressful environment as court hearing it is impossible to lack quick-witted mind and sharp and acurate responses to judges questions.In such situations you don`t have time to cogitate . In a written test you have at least few minutes to decide what answer is proper , in oral you can have only few seconds .

So , I don`t really see the point you are making .
delphiandomine 83 | 17,719
15 May 2011 #26
What kind of a problem ? Are you a lawyer to have such deep argumentative conclusions about this subject pertaining to Poland ?

Actually, it's hardly a big secret that law studies in Poland are very much a closed shop.

In a field of law it is very important to have also oral exams

Fair enough. Then they should be conducted with strict academic oversight - all exams recorded on video and audio, questions being selected at random by the professor from a list of pre-approved questions, all exams conducted by at least three people, etc.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 May 2011 #27
What Poland really needs is a broad-sweeping assessment of areas of deficiency and to tie it in with priorities for building up the country. The level of redundant and useless info taught in syllabi is reprehensible. I could draw an analogy to teaching and the failures of rote learning. Fine, teach how sth works but give people a chance to use it for themselves. Poland seems to have stopgap options (na sta┼╝) that are not designed to customise the talents of an individual. Time needs to be invested in headhunting and what we call in Scotland, 'the milk round'. Potential employers can then see how students are coming along and choose those that match their needs. I could be wrong but I get the impression that all too many Poles learn for the sake of learning but haven't fully established that bridge to the working world.
Monia
15 May 2011 #28
Actually, it's hardly a big secret that law studies in Poland are very much a closed shop.

It is not for everybody , of course , but for those who want to study hard and decide to have almost no private life . 5 years of univ( master degree + 4 years of ( advocate`s training ) . So it is not kind of a profession to pursue if you want just to have a paper of higher education .
Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 May 2011 #29
Law is certainly progressive in terms of moving up the career ladder. What struck me as weird was when I met the Head of Court in Rybnik and she was only 32. She had reached an exalted position at a young age but that is unheard of in Scotland. The Polish system has some peculiarities.
southern 75 | 7,096
15 May 2011 #30
The only guarantee in oral exams is what we call round.In round the proffessor asks for example 5 students the same questions in a row.If a student does not answer a question or gives wrong answer he asks the same question to the next one.This is a very common system but has a big disadvantage.Your grade depends on the abilities of the students who happen to be examined with you.Because if you happen to sit with examinees who have excellently studied the material it is very likely that you will be asked very difficult questions the ones which the others fail to answer.

On the other hand if you sit the exams with mediocre or unprepared examinees you will be asked relatively easy questions which the others failed to answer.Also luck plays important role in this system because you may answer a general question correctly then the proffessor move to the next student for a detailed view and he will fail while he may have known the general answer but does not know the more detailed stuff.So it can be unfair.

There are so prejudiced proffessors that ask questions bypassing the row at will,that is they do not ask specific students the same questions which the others failed to answer because they want to pass them.(these specific students).It is a chance to see proffessor abuse of power in action.Sometimes they even do not give pass grade if the student does not say some words they expect to hear.They pass him only in case he says these exact words(which are usually deriven from his lectures at university and not from his book in this way he wants to check if the student has attended his lectures).I remember one case when I was given the worst grade because I gave the answer from the book material.


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