Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Do People Actually Think?

I heard a piece on the BBC World Service last night about how getting students to sit exams puts them under stress and only tests their ability to memorise things. I may return to questioning whether testing a student's knowledge should be frowned upon at a later date. Anyway, the alternative offered was exclusively using continuous assessment performed alongside the teaching (computer tutorials, essays, etc).

To paraphrase, the following observation and conclusion was made based on a study in Britain. Students who are assessed solely using continuous assessment get markedly better results than children who are assessed solely using examinations. Therefore continuous assessment should be adopted in educational facilities in Britain.

Anybody who can't see a glaring flaw in the logic leading to this conclusion probably shouldn't be running nationally funded education studies.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Electron deficient entertainment - bookshop guy's recommendation edition

Lyonesse: Suldrun's Garden - Jack Vance. This took me forever to read for some reason. Not too bad, but I much preferred the Dying Earth stories.

Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded - John Scalzi. The highlights of 10 years of Scalzi's blog, Whatever. A pretty light read, and quite enjoyable. Probably not so interesting if you already follow his blog, or haven't read any of his books.

Only Forwards - Michael Marshall Smith. Weird sort of sci-fi horror fantasy hybrid. Very good, but probably the weirdest book I've read for quite some time.

The Praxis - Walter Jon Williams. First book in a space opera trilogy I can't remember the name of right now. Pretty standard fare.

This Is Not a Game - Walter Jon Williams. Thriller about ARGs. I reckon the BBC could do a pretty good job of turning it into a 3 part miniseries. In both this and The Praxis, there are plot twists that aren't quite as unexpected or tricky as the author might like to think.

When did I become a sci-fi reader? I guess when I started running low on decent fantasy authors to read.