Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Eurocall 2010 - recovered!

Sorting out my laptop's c drive, I have come across my piece on Eurocall 2010. I so enjoyed the conference, and I'm sorry I cannot be there this year. I shall 'park' my piece here and try to finish it off before next year!

Eurocall 2010

I have always wanted to attend the Eurocall conference, and this year I have! I was especially keen to go as I knew that my good neighbour in Second Life, Cyber Placebo aka Edith Piallait was going to be attending (on sabbatical from New Zealand for 6 months .. so unlikely to be here again) .. Graham Davies, who was one of the first people to introduce me to SL was giving the keynotes, and the theme of the conference matched my particular interest .. virtual worlds (and I knew that several of my SL friend would be there) .. I had befriended and met some of the key people organising the conference in SL (Ciara and Thierry) .. and, oh, nearly forgot, it was being held in one of my favourite French cities .. Bordeaux.

I was very sorry to miss the preconference where I was due to be involved in Graham and Sally’s session introducing SL and the afternoon follow up and a reception at the town hall .. but the strike and delayed flight prevented this. (Long boring story about the challenge of accessing my hotel and bed available on request!)

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference.

Here are some highlights ..

THE WELCOME and atmosphere was fantastic. .. it started with the website and various social networking (thanks especially to Lesley and Antoine) everyone was keen to talk, to share and to enthuse. I was incredibly fortunate to sit next to Inge Anna (having complimented her on her Norwegian!) who made sure that I knew the names and faces of the main organisers .. I came away with loads of names and contact details and am sure I will be keeping in contact with people.

THE Variety OF SESSIONS meant that I was fully occupied for the whole three days I was there .. I have given a quick description of each of the sessions I attended and would be happy to elaborate / give more details if asked! In particular, I am sure I will read through all the detailed ‘abstracts’ of talks I could not attend.

THE CONTENT of the sessions was different from many I usually attend. Many were reports on research I learnt a great deal of research and academic vocabulary .. words like affordances .. salience ..

THE VENUE was great .. the transport system in Bordeaux is superb and the university proved to be easily accessible from any hotels .. trams and buses arrive frequently and promptly. The university itself had many rooms fairly close together, so it was easy to move from one session to the other . and people obeyed the instructions to keep to times!

Monday, 29 August 2011

GCSE and A level June 2011 statistics and initial analysis

I have up-dated the severe grading information with the June 2011 data here:

In fact virtually all the trends are a continuation of previous trends and severe grading remains an acute issue, both at GCSE and A level (including A* at A level).

A new concern is the drop in the GCSE A* grades (both percentage and actual numbers).

This is the year of the new specifications and the changes to speaking for which there had been hopes that the grading situation would improve as candidates are better able to demonstrate what they know and can do with teacher control of what the content is and more flexibility over the exam conditions (see Dearing Review based on teacher comments and subsequent consultation).

Sadly this is not the case and there seem to be a range of concerns about the grades and skill marks. The posted information analyses overall grades because that is the only information currently available. It will be important over the coming months to do a thorough analysis of the skill marks across the country and across the boards. It is often the case that with changes to specifications etc. there are more fluctuations in the marking and it will be important to distinguish between the ‘first year randomness’ and underlying trends.