Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


English kids are not as clever as they’ve been told

ulearn2bu

Forget all the A* stuff. When it comes to global comparisons our kids are not doing very well at all.

They are the most illiterate in the developed world, according to a survey by the OECD.

It warned that many young people are graduating with only a basic grasp of English and Maths and are unlikely to be able to get a job in which they can afford to pay off their student loans.

English teenagers aged 16-19 were rated the worst of 23 developed nations in literacy and 22nd in numeracy. In contrast pensioners or those close to retirement age were among the highest ranked of their age group.

Most illiterate nations

  1. England
  2. Spain
  3. US
  4. Italy
  5. school_children_holding_learn_blocks_1600_wht_12276France
  6. Ireland
  7. Canada
  8. Austria
  9. Northern Ireland
  10. Germany
  11. Norway
  12. Sweden
  13. Denmark
  14. Slovak Republic
  15. Czech Republic
  16. Belgium
  17. Australia
  18. Poland
  19. Estonia
  20. Finland
  21. The Netherlands
  22. Japan
  23. Korea

The number of low-skilled people in England is three times…

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Boys need a leg up at school but treating them like girls?

ulearn2bu

babies_with_blocks_spelling_learn_1600_wht_13401The latest research on children’s achievements suggest that there are a million lost boys out there.

These are the boys who have fallen behind girls in the communication skills they need to cope in class.

The research by the charity Save the Children and researchers from Bristol University says that this gap exists regardless of social class.

A professor of education at Bristol University said ” We found gender affects literacy attainment and language development irrespective of social class and includes boys from middle-class homes.

The worst affected area was Merseyside, where 5-year old boys were 17% behind girls in reaching expected standards in language and communication skills. But even in Rutland, which has low poverty levels, the gap was still 14%.

Girls are ahead of boys in all 152 local council areas in England.

This is worrying because children who fall behind before they reach school tend to stay behind…

View original post 327 more words


UK still only average when it comes to literacy

stick_figure_walking_up_books_1600_wht_3441Despite the expansion in university places and the increase in graduates and post-graduates we still are pretty poor when it comes to literacy. Only 25% of graduates in England and Northern Ireland performed well at higher levels of reading and writing.

So much for the high number of students getting A* at A-level and the increasing number of graduates getting 1sts. But we know that’s down to grade inflation and universities lowering grade boundaries so more students get top classifications and the university can attract more bums on seats.

The latest results come for the OECD’s annual comparison of school and university outcomes.

Britain has passed a milestone with more people going on to university-level education than not going beyond school qualifications for the first time. So that’s more students in debt as they seek elusive graduate-level jobs.

Other graduate-led economies have seen a rise in higher-level adult literacy but this didn’t happen in the UK. Despite 41% of adults having a tertiary level qualification in 2012 compared to only 26% in 2000. And the proportion was higher still among people aged 25-34.

The OECD doesn’t say why but it says class sizes in English schools are among the largest in the developed world with an average of 18.8 children with a ratio of 14,2 pupils per teacher. The OECD average is 17.8 children so I’m not clear why having slightly above average numbers puts us in the largest class size category.

So which countries did better and worse than us?

37% Japan & Finland

36% Netherlands

34% Sweden

32% Australia

28% Norway

26% Belgium

25% UK

24% USA & Czech Republic

23% Poland

22% Canada

21% Austria

20% Germany

19% France & Denmark

 


A degree in nursing isn’t everything

nurse_figure_pushing_pill_1600_wht_14162The fact that nursing is now a graduate occupation doesn’t always mean that patients will benefit.

According to the Chief Executive at a London NHS Trust 1 in 3 of these graduate nurses are rejected because they fail simple numeracy and literacy tests. They have to pass tests in compassion (which is part of the UK Nursing Vision) as well but 83% of candidates from one London University failed in at least one of the three tests.

The tests are based on simple drug calculations which nurses need to know so that they can dispense medication safely.

The Chief Executive said that “while many nurses were well-trained and compassionate more should be done by universities taking responsibility for these basic skills and it should’t be left to the employing Trust to teach basic maths”.

At another London NHS Foundation Trust 15% of its nursing applicants failed similar drug calculation tests.

Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said “modern nursing requires high standards in numeracy and literacy so it is vital that these skills are properly assessed at the recruitment stage”.

Professor Ieuan Ellis, Vice-chairman of the Council of Deans of Health which represents universities which train nurses, denied that graduates were ill-prepared for work on the wards. He said “UK data shows that between 81% and 100% go on to graduate=level jobs (and) if there was evidence of a widespread problem we’d be happy to follow it up but this view is simply not backed up by the data“.

Well it is at those two trusts and who do you believe, the employer or someone with a vested interest in running nursing courses?

The Sunday times gave examples of the test questions which are like these below.

  • A patient is prescribed 30mg of a drug which comes in 15mg tablets. How many tablets should the patient receive?
  • Another patient is prescribed 50mg of a drug which comes in 25mg tablets. How many should the patient be given?
  • A drug comes in 2.5mg tablets. How many would you give a patient who needs 12.5 mg?