February 09, 2005

show me the money

I am bemused by the upset created by the odd results of the Scholarship exams. Without wanting to sound like members of a Monty Python sketch, I don't remember any opportunity to win $6,000 towards my university study. I got 3x$200 from an A bursary which (almost) covered books and student union membership for three years out of the five I studied for.

In addition, because the scholarship part of the exam was about 5 questions (say 40 minutes of exam time) the results reflected a tiny part of the student's knowledge, and were probably wildly inaccurate. In some cases (e.g. English) the same questions worked towards both the bursary and scholarship results, but the criteria used to judge the answer were different.

So long as the results are all within one year, none of the students will be disadvantaged with regards to getting into New Zealand tertiary institutions.

Interesting to hear Bill English sounding very dangerous on radio this morning. Positively passionate.

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Probably most interesting out of the whole debacle is the notion that science students can't get good marks if they can't write well. I think the two parts of science (actually doing it vs. communicating about it) are both valuable. But I think incommunicative scientists are fine so long as they are accompanied by science communicators. Requiring them to write is like requiring software developers to write good help files. The chances of finding the two skill sets (let alone enthusiasm for both areas) in one body is unlikely, thus risking the loss of a hell of a lot of good code being developed.

Perhaps I'm just biased because I like translating. I get to play with very pretty ideas - and add value by making them understandable.

Posted by carla at February 9, 2005 09:37 AM
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