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Shocking! Test standards in Polish schools.


Foreigner4 12 | 1,768
29 Jan 2012 #91
think that many people seem to get confused by the difference between the complexity of a language, and the complexity of a language for non-native learners.

I'm not sure if you've understood what I've written. Are you arguing with me or agreeing?
mafketis 29 | 10,321
29 Jan 2012 #92
The consensus of linguists:

for infants, all spoken languages are equally easy/hard to learn, all infants learn to speak at the same rate (differences are greater between infants speaking the same language than between groups of infants speaking different languages).

once a person has acquired their native language(s) then other languages are more or less difficult based on several factors, including similarity to the person's native language, Polish is easier for Russian speakers than for English speakers, English is easier for Norwegians than for Poles.

writing is another matter and some writing systems (Finnish, Spanish,) are much easier to learn than others (English, Chinese).

getting back to the original topic, the standards aren't very impressive but it's what you get when you expect millions of people to learn a foreign language very different from their own, with minimal exposure and not that much real, concrete motivation.
EM_Wave 9 | 311
29 Jan 2012 #93
What does complexity of the language has to do with the intelligence of its native speakers.

I'm not trying to imply there is some relation. I'm just saying, Finns are a bright bunch in general. When I was in Helsinki, all the Finns I met spoke English fluently. No European country I've been in compares to Finland.
a.k.
29 Jan 2012 #94
Now, name all Finn's inventions! ;-)

We were doing this at the age of 13 over here; however, this was a long time ago.

It's impossible, Sid. Not fractions, integrals! (you know the long S like sign, opposition to differentiation)

good/clever pupils go to good schools, bad pupils go to bad schools.

What about rejonizacja (English equivalent?). Are you sure all pupils have a choice?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
29 Jan 2012 #95
English equivalent?

Catchment area/s.
a.k.
29 Jan 2012 #96
Thank you :)

Btw Wroclaw is it true what Sidliste said that in the past integrals were taught to 13-years-olds or he was just pulling our legs?
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
29 Jan 2012 #97
is it true what Sidliste said that in the past integrals were taught to 13-years-olds or he was just pulling our legs?

you are asking the wrong person. when i had a maths lesson i could only be found behind the bike sheds with an embassy regal or number 6 hanging out my mouth.

my brother went to proper school (grammar school) so he probably did them. if u can find them/or not in a 1970's O level paper, you'll have your answer.
Lyzko
29 Jan 2012 #98
Sure enough, Finland (Suomii) scored highest among the Europeans, according to PISA!

Yet, FInnish (a language with which I have a great deal of structural familiarity) is scarcely more challenging than Hungarian, Icelandic or Polish:-) Furthermore, those thirty-odd cases are barely used in daily life by the bulk of the population, much, I'm told, like the majority of Mandarin characters; mostly only native scholars know half the really complicated stuff.

Finland DOES have traditionally an outstanding school system, that's true. Unfortunately, this doesn't usually apply to English. The Finns I know still prefer Swedish with foreigners than English.
gumishu 11 | 5,857
29 Jan 2012 #99
The Finns I know still prefer Swedish with foreigners than English.

you just happen to know the older generation Lyzko
Lyzko
29 Jan 2012 #100
Younger ones too! I know a thirty-something fellow employed at the Finnish Consulate near where we live and his English is allright, but his Swedish sounds damned near native. He even admits it. There are exceptions though, you may be right.
gumishu 11 | 5,857
29 Jan 2012 #101
well, Lyzko, maybe he simply is a Swedish person - there is a strong Swedish minority in western Finland but I guess you are aware of it - I believe most of these people are bilingual (Swedish and Finnish)
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
29 Jan 2012 #102
It's imposible, Sid. Not fractions, integrals! (you know the long S like sign, opposition to differentiation)

I know exactly what I meant, and what they are used for, thank you very much!

Btw Wroclaw is it true what Sidliste said that in the past integrals were taught to 13-years-olds or he was just pulling our legs?

What would I achieve by lying? I suspect that I'm quite a bit older than Wroclaw anyway ;)

I left school a long time ago, so I took "O" Levels and not GCSEs - everyone knows that standards have fallen since those were introduced. In my first year of Grammar school (actually a comprehensive by this point, but they kept the title, lol), I was 13-14, and we were introduced to both differential and integral calculus.

My last Polish girlfriend's son was approaching 15, and I was asked to help with his homework, because he was struggling with basic geometry (things we learned before we were 13 back in those days). I asked her about Poland's allegedly "better" educational system, and it appeared from their responses that Poland isn't quite as superior to our system as some may claim. I thought it was laughable that a lad who was less than 18 months from leaving school was still unable to do basic geometry and algebra, but that's the way it was!
Lyzko
29 Jan 2012 #103
Sorry there, gumishu! The chap's a Finn through and through, not like Sibelius.... but actually mostly Finnish and partly Lapp.
gumishu 11 | 5,857
29 Jan 2012 #104
Sidliste - I seriously doubt what you reminescence about is true - to be able to know what integrals are you first need to know what differentials are - and to be able to understand differentials you need to know what limit (limes) is - I doubt they teach (or taught) 12 year olds about limits in Britain (it takes time to master limits then differentials before you get to integrals) - oh and you need to actually know what mathematical function is - I think my first serious encounter with functions was in my 6th grade which is normally for 13 year olds in Poland
a.k.
29 Jan 2012 #105
my brother went to proper school (grammar school) so he probably did them. if u can find them/or not in a 1970's O level paper, you'll have your answer.

I think it's beyond comprehension of a regular 13-year-old, so definitely he was pulling our legs, unless he was attending some classes for mathematically gifted children (you know those with IQs above 130).
modafinil - | 418
29 Jan 2012 #106
If you are going to bang on about literacy standards then i suggest you look at your own.

Are you going to point out what is wrong with what you quoted because I can't see any error. Providing she has more than one kid, that is.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
29 Jan 2012 #107
this might help some folk. it's not just maths. there are other subjects too: bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/maths/
gumishu 11 | 5,857
29 Jan 2012 #108
I thought it was laughable that a lad who was less than 18 months from leaving school was still unable to do basic geometry and algebra, but that's the way it was!

I think that because of internet and TV children have a lot more trouble with working with abstract ideas - I am not up-to-date with current day teaching programmes but I hardly believe that basic geometry is not taught in grades 4 through 7 - now the quality of present day teaching (on average) may be a factor too - the discipline issues may affect the quality of teaching (it's all interconected it looks) (there were mostly no discipline issues back then when I was in elementary school)
a.k.
29 Jan 2012 #109
Excuse me sir, I will believe you only if I see it on my own eyes. Please feel free to show me a proof of that. Let it be a picture of a book or any reference that might proof your statements.

My last Polish girlfriend's son was approaching 15, and I was asked to help with his homework, because he was struggling with basic geometry

What's to laugh about that? That's how curriculums look like now. Differentiation is in 2 class of high school (17-18 year olds).

I suspect that I'm quite a bit older than Wroclaw anyway ;)

Are you 70?!
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
29 Jan 2012 #110
so definitely he was pulling our legs, unless he was attending some classes for mathematically gifted children (you know those with IQs above 130).

i doubt he is pulling your leg. he went to the same type of school as my brother and did similar exams. my brother is bright. he had his o levels done and dusted when he was fifteen. grammar school was a tough place. latin and i think greek, for example, were on the regular timetable. it was very different back then. and worst of all they played rugby, not footie.
gumishu 11 | 5,857
29 Jan 2012 #111
I think that because of internet and TV children have a lot more trouble with working with abstract ideas -

actually I think todays' children have a lot trouble with simply focusing on abstarct things
a.k.
29 Jan 2012 #112
I think my first serious encounter with functions was in my 6th grade which is normally for 13 year olds in Poland

I think he might just mixed it all up. He probably learnt it for his A-levels and now just doesn't remember correctly. It happens that we think we did something in early childhood and then confronting the memory with our parents it turns out that it was much later than we thought.

i doubt he is pulling your leg. he went to the same type of school as my brother and did similar exams.

I would believe he learnt integrals at 15 but not earlier.

actually I think todays' children have a lot trouble with simply focusing on abstract things

Todays children have a lot trouble with focusing in general.
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
29 Jan 2012 #113
unless he was attending some classes for mathematically gifted children (you know those with IQs above 130).

Well, I was in the top class throughout my time at that school, and we were worked much harder than the lowest groups, so it's a possibility.

i doubt he is pulling your leg.

Spot on. I suspect that a few of the respondents on this thread simply can't believe that the British educational system had such high standards at one time. Latin and Greek were optional subjects at my school (I took them, but didn't sit the exam in the end).

Excuse me sir, I will believe you only if I see it on my own eyes. Please feel free to show me a proof of that. Let it be a picture of a book or any reference that might proof your statements.

How am I supposed to provide evidence from textbooks I haven't owned for over 25 years?

I think he might just mixed it all up. He probably learnt it for his A-levels and now just doesn't remember correctly.

Wrong. I left school at 16, so I did not take any "A" levels; I went into higher education later on, after gaining other qualifications after leaving school. I learned most of my mathematics at "O" Level (the exam was taken at 16).

Are you 70?!

No. Well under 50 but over 40. We're not all a few years out of school on here. You clearly did not go to school in the UK, so don't try and claim that I'm lying - I know what I was taught, and when.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,849
29 Jan 2012 #114
Are you going to point out what is wrong with what you quoted because I can't see any error. Providing she has more than one kid, that is.

lolz, thanks!! I was waiting for someone to question that apostrophe..they are twins ..;)

I would believe he learnt integrals at 15 but not earlier.

I had to check what those were...they did look vaguely familiar... but then I was kicked out of top maths set at an early age. Once upon a time standards in UK schools were much higher...which is why I was 'banging on' about today's 'literacy' lessons.
a.k.
29 Jan 2012 #115
You clearly did not go to school in the UK, so don't try and claim that I'm lying - I know what I was taught, and when.

I'm not saying you're lying. I just don't think it's possible in such an early age to learn integrals. But ok, if you say so.

One more question - do you in grammar school were choosing subjects you want to learn or the curriculum was fixed?

I left school at 16, so I did not take any "A" levels; I went into higher education later on, after gaining other qualifications after leaving school.

A-levels is not a must to apply for a University?

British educational system had such high standards at one time.

I believe it had high standards. I just didn't know that such high high standards :)

Once upon a time standards in UK schools were much higher...which is why I was 'banging on' about today's 'literacy' lessons.

So who ruined the standards and what for?
In Poland it was the same. I mean, kids were ok but they reformed the education to make kids learn less and less... why?
OP Stu 12 | 522
29 Jan 2012 #116
Right ... because I got some flak from people and because some of you didn't believe me, I decided to do an experiment at work. I welcomed two dozen new "recruits" and I decided to have them write a couple of sentences about where they saw themselves in two years time. Here are some of the results:

Person A - In 2 years i waan be a leader of my team and upgrade my experiens for Windows serwer familii and unix
Person B - After 2 years I wuld be like be Aministrator Windows of Second or third line
Person C - In next two years top quality manager will be good i think, buy requires a lot of work to do (and earn some knowledge)

Persom D - when i study i create which other student a network project, programs, datebase. I hose <company> because is My opportunity to learn new skills. Personal and career growth/and because is a good company. I would steel down in Wroclaw. Completed additional course, promote higher position.

I can go on and on. Now these guys ALL went to University. They are about 24, 25 years old. They did their matura.

Now there are two possibilities: either all of these guys are a bay leaf short of a bouquet garni or there actually IS something wrong with the matura exam over here.

And there is something wrong with the hiring process as well: I need these people as first liners on a helpdesk. They will HAVE to speak English. Now, why did they send me university graduated people who barely speak English and not a couple of cleaners, painters, builders, etc ... etc ... who spent a couple of years in England or Ireland or where ever, but who actually speak the language? But maybe that's a subject for another thread ... :(.
EM_Wave 9 | 311
29 Jan 2012 #117
Well...I think it is possible for a 13 year old to learn basic differential and integral calculus. When I was 12, I learned limits and basic derivatives. I'm pretty good at math but I'm not a genius.
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
29 Jan 2012 #118
One more question - do you in grammar school were choosing subjects you want to learn or the curriculum was fixed?

There was a compulsory basic curriculum which everyone had to take (Mathematics, English Language, etc), but some subject groups (e.g. languages) were optional.

A-levels is not a must to apply for a University?

If you apply straight from school, then they are essential. However, there are many non-school qualifications which (if I remember correctly) are equivalent to at least one or two "A" Levels each - I have three such qualifications, and they got me into university later on. I can easily meet any university entry requirements.

I believe it had high standards. I just didn't know that such high high standards :)

Things may have changed since then. And, as I mentioned before, I was in the highest and toughest group for three years. The kids in the bottom group probably never even learned how to spell "differentials", never mind how to use them ;)
gumishu 11 | 5,857
29 Jan 2012 #119
And there is something wrong with the hiring process as well: I need these people as first liners on a helpdesk..

oh, my - don't envy you - cleaners and painters don't speak much English - not enough to be able to provide instructions and advice to customers in computer field
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,849
29 Jan 2012 #120
So who ruined the standards and what for?

uff that is some question......one that I hesitate to attempt answering at the risk of sounding like a crazed Daily Mail journalist or a stoned conspiracy theorist.....


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