Author Topic: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.  (Read 77628 times)

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Offline Zero999

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #575 on: November 23, 2018, 09:18:49 am »
I remember this article some years ago:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/update-kindergarten-teacher-denies-legos-to-boys-in-name-of-gender-equity

I found it outrageous and I see it happening more often.
I saw all kinds of discrimination in my school years but not like this.
Back then it was more to do with religion, if you have some kind of disability, where you are from and what class you came from and how much your parents earn and so on.

I find there are lots these girls/female only coding courses these days with grants and in places where they don't teach much.
It would be good if they can recognise that and extend the courtesy in the name of equality and whether it is running a separate class for both genders.
At least they'd set a good example.

I suppose it also depends on what part of the country you are from.
I hope she was also banning the girls from playing with dolls, so the boys can.

At the end of the article it talks about boys being behind at school, which has been the case in the UK for a long time. Girls have been getting better GCSE (exams at the end of year eleven, when the students have turned 16) results than boys for a long time. There are various theories about this but I think it's because girls are generally more submissive and likely to do what their told than boys who are more likely to rebel.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #576 on: November 23, 2018, 09:30:53 am »
At the end of the article it talks about boys being behind at school, which has been the case in the UK for a long time. Girls have been getting better GCSE (exams at the end of year eleven, when the students have turned 16) results than boys for a long time. There are various theories about this but I think it's because girls are generally more submissive and likely to do what their told than boys who are more likely to rebel.
Its simple. When boys were performing much better than girls, they prioritised evening up the boy's and girl's scores. If you ask people to do that, what is the most practical route to fulfilling the goal? Push up the girl's scores, or depress the boy's scores? Obviously, you create a more hostile environment for boys, and push down their scores. There you have the basic reason that the performance of the entire education sector has fallen, and really bright kids have nothing to challenge them in a modern school.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #577 on: November 23, 2018, 10:02:09 am »
At the end of the article it talks about boys being behind at school, which has been the case in the UK for a long time. Girls have been getting better GCSE (exams at the end of year eleven, when the students have turned 16) results than boys for a long time. There are various theories about this but I think it's because girls are generally more submissive and likely to do what their told than boys who are more likely to rebel.
Its simple. When boys were performing much better than girls, they prioritised evening up the boy's and girl's scores. If you ask people to do that, what is the most practical route to fulfilling the goal? Push up the girl's scores, or depress the boy's scores? Obviously, you create a more hostile environment for boys, and push down their scores. There you have the basic reason that the performance of the entire education sector has fallen, and really bright kids have nothing to challenge them in a modern school.
If anything it's the other way round. The recent exam overhaul has made it more equal.
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/aug/23/gcses-boys-close-gap-on-girls-after-exams-overhaul
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #578 on: November 23, 2018, 10:08:58 am »
At the end of the article it talks about boys being behind at school, which has been the case in the UK for a long time. Girls have been getting better GCSE (exams at the end of year eleven, when the students have turned 16) results than boys for a long time. There are various theories about this but I think it's because girls are generally more submissive and likely to do what their told than boys who are more likely to rebel.
Its simple. When boys were performing much better than girls, they prioritised evening up the boy's and girl's scores. If you ask people to do that, what is the most practical route to fulfilling the goal? Push up the girl's scores, or depress the boy's scores? Obviously, you create a more hostile environment for boys, and push down their scores. There you have the basic reason that the performance of the entire education sector has fallen, and really bright kids have nothing to challenge them in a modern school.
If anything it's the other way round. The recent exam overhaul has made it more equal.
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/aug/23/gcses-boys-close-gap-on-girls-after-exams-overhaul
They recently overhauled the exams, made them more boy friendly (more hard numerical and one sentence answers), and less girl friendly (less soft, less precisely markable, paragraph length answers), and the scores have evened up. What a surprise.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #579 on: November 23, 2018, 10:16:11 am »
At the end of the article it talks about boys being behind at school, which has been the case in the UK for a long time. Girls have been getting better GCSE (exams at the end of year eleven, when the students have turned 16) results than boys for a long time. There are various theories about this but I think it's because girls are generally more submissive and likely to do what their told than boys who are more likely to rebel.
Its simple. When boys were performing much better than girls, they prioritised evening up the boy's and girl's scores. If you ask people to do that, what is the most practical route to fulfilling the goal? Push up the girl's scores, or depress the boy's scores? Obviously, you create a more hostile environment for boys, and push down their scores. There you have the basic reason that the performance of the entire education sector has fallen, and really bright kids have nothing to challenge them in a modern school.
If anything it's the other way round. The recent exam overhaul has made it more equal.
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/aug/23/gcses-boys-close-gap-on-girls-after-exams-overhaul
They recently overhauled the exams, made them more boy friendly (more hard numerical and one sentence answers), and less girl friendly (less soft, less precisely markable, paragraph length answers), and the scores have evened up. What a surprise.
It could also be the increased focus on exams as boys can't be bothered with coursework and might be better at handling the exam pressure.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #580 on: November 23, 2018, 10:32:11 am »
They recently overhauled the exams, made them more boy friendly (more hard numerical and one sentence answers), and less girl friendly (less soft, less precisely markable, paragraph length answers), and the scores have evened up. What a surprise.
It could also be the increased focus on exams as boys can't be bothered with coursework and might be better at handling the exam pressure.
That goes hand in hand with what I said about soft versus hard answers. Most coursework has very little of the "give me a solid question, and I'll give you a solid answer" type material that suits boys better. The requirements for most coursework are so vague that hitting the marks, and scoring well, has more to do with having a teacher who can guide you about examiner expectations, than knowing and understanding the topic. Neither boys nor girls respond well to woolly goals, but they seem to have a greater ability to cause boys to disconnect.

At the time when people started complaining about boys doing better than girls, girls were scoring better on things like English. It should be no surprise that they made every topic more like English, with an emphasis on wordy submissions.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 10:34:52 am by coppice »
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #581 on: November 23, 2018, 11:31:17 am »
They recently overhauled the exams, made them more boy friendly (more hard numerical and one sentence answers), and less girl friendly (less soft, less precisely markable, paragraph length answers), and the scores have evened up. What a surprise.
It could also be the increased focus on exams as boys can't be bothered with coursework and might be better at handling the exam pressure.
That goes hand in hand with what I said about soft versus hard answers. Most coursework has very little of the "give me a solid question, and I'll give you a solid answer" type material that suits boys better. The requirements for most coursework are so vague that hitting the marks, and scoring well, has more to do with having a teacher who can guide you about examiner expectations, than knowing and understanding the topic. Neither boys nor girls respond well to woolly goals, but they seem to have a greater ability to cause boys to disconnect.

At the time when people started complaining about boys doing better than girls, girls were scoring better on things like English. It should be no surprise that they made every topic more like English, with an emphasis on wordy submissions.
In all seriousness, I don't think gender has anything to do with this. I think it was an unintended consequence. I don't remember maths and science coursework being anything like English. It mostly consisted of experiments with a clear analysis, rather than fluff, but that was over 20 years ago, so it might have changed since. It does prove though that courses can be designed to favour boys over girls and vice versa, which is interesting and agree that they shouldn't be a conscious effort to make girls and boys get equal grades.

I believe there is merit in both coursework and exams. Exams ensure the student is capable of working independently and isn't copying anyone, but they don't mirror reality. In the real world just remembering things is pointless, especially in the age of the Internet and employers want people to work collaboratively, hence coursework is a good idea, but more emphasis should be placed on external verification, to reduce teacher bias and cheating. If a student gets a low exam grade, but scores highly on coursework, then it should be investigated, as it's likely they cheated.
 

Offline Nominal Animal

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #582 on: November 23, 2018, 11:32:43 am »
The tragicomic thing about gender differences is that it's not about gender, really: it is about the differences between individuals.

We have people who are interested in things, and people who are interested in people.  We have people who are proficient with language, but weak on spatial and mathematical thinking.  These all vary between individuals, but it just happens that there is a significant difference in the statistical distribution of those variables between genders, and so people make it a gender issue.

[Ninja'd by Hero999, it seems!]
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #583 on: November 23, 2018, 11:48:22 am »
I believe there is merit in both coursework and exams. Exams ensure the student is capable of working independently and isn't copying anyone, but they don't mirror reality. In the real world just remembering things is pointless, especially in the age of the Internet and employers want people to work collaboratively, hence coursework is a good idea, but more emphasis should be placed on external verification, to reduce teacher bias and cheating. If a student gets a low exam grade, but scores highly on coursework, then it should be investigated, as it's likely they cheated.
I love the idea of coursework, but in reality it is very problematic. Coursework means being sick on the wrong day, or just having a bad day, doesn't screw things up for the candidate. It has the potential to probe the candidate's abilities deeper, because more time is available. On the other hand, there used to be a lot more time available for probing people's abilities in the exams than there is today. There aren't many 3 hour exams left. When I was at school only a few specialised exams, like multiple choice papers, were ever less than 3 hours. So, it doesn't appear that the current system is very interested in in depth testing. Coursework is too easy to game, and policing it is nearly impossible. I don't see how that could ever be fixed.

If you can get a high mark in an exam by simply remembering, its a terrible exam. Some percentage of questions are always going to require recited answers, but if a large percentage don't require some amount of analysis and merging of multiple pieces of knowledge the exam is broken by design.
 

Offline analogo

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #584 on: November 23, 2018, 01:38:21 pm »
In the real world just remembering things is pointless, especially in the age of the Internet

Most of us are paid well because we remember things better than other people and we don't have to look them up on the internet. What was Ohm's law again?

Remembering things instead of looking them up is faster. Faster = more productive. More productive = more valuable.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #585 on: November 23, 2018, 02:16:39 pm »
In the real world just remembering things is pointless, especially in the age of the Internet

Most of us are paid well because we remember things better than other people and we don't have to look them up on the internet. What was Ohm's law again?

Remembering things instead of looking them up is faster. Faster = more productive. More productive = more valuable.
But people only remember things they use regularly. I think it's safe to say most people here have forgotten most of what they had to remember, to pass their exams. Simple Ohm's law is easy, but how about the less commonly used formulae, can you remember them? If you know P and R, can you calculate V? I think most people forget that. Of course I could work it out, but it's quicker to Google it.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #586 on: November 23, 2018, 02:36:01 pm »
In the real world just remembering things is pointless, especially in the age of the Internet

Most of us are paid well because we remember things better than other people and we don't have to look them up on the internet. What was Ohm's law again?

Remembering things instead of looking them up is faster. Faster = more productive. More productive = more valuable.
But people only remember things they use regularly. I think it's safe to say most people here have forgotten most of what they had to remember, to pass their exams. Simple Ohm's law is easy, but how about the less commonly used formulae, can you remember them? If you know P and R, can you calculate V? I think most people forget that. Of course I could work it out, but it's quicker to Google it.
In exams people are only expected to remember, or be able derive on the fly, a modest pool of relationships that they have recently studied, and very recently revised on. If they can't remember those in the exam, how will they remember whatever pool of relationships are relevant for their day to day work? Its not an unreasonable test of ability.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 02:39:11 pm by coppice »
 

Online IanB

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #587 on: November 23, 2018, 04:27:43 pm »
In exams people are only expected to remember, or be able derive on the fly, a modest pool of relationships that they have recently studied, and very recently revised on.

I disagree with this. Although many people scrape through exams by last minute cramming, this is not the best way to pass them. In all the exams I have done well on I knew the material off by heart before the exams came around and did no last minute revision for them. In fact, when I was doing O-levels (16+, GCSE, whetever they were being called at the time) I used the revision time to go swimming or go out and do other stuff, anything to clear my mind of the exam material. Cramming leads to stress, and stress leads to poor performance.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #588 on: November 23, 2018, 05:08:00 pm »
In exams people are only expected to remember, or be able derive on the fly, a modest pool of relationships that they have recently studied, and very recently revised on.

I disagree with this. Although many people scrape through exams by last minute cramming, this is not the best way to pass them. In all the exams I have done well on I knew the material off by heart before the exams came around and did no last minute revision for them. In fact, when I was doing O-levels (16+, GCSE, whetever they were being called at the time) I used the revision time to go swimming or go out and do other stuff, anything to clear my mind of the exam material. Cramming leads to stress, and stress leads to poor performance.
That's fantastic. You got 100% in every exam? No need for revision at all?

I'm not clear what I wrote that you disagree with.
 

Online IanB

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #589 on: November 23, 2018, 05:17:00 pm »
In exams people are only expected to remember, or be able derive on the fly, a modest pool of relationships that they have recently studied, and very recently revised on.
I'm not clear what I wrote that you disagree with.

I disagree that exams are (or should be) about remembering recently studied or revised material.

Exams should be similar to course work. You learn and internalize the material over the duration of the course (this learning is your coursework), and then in the exam you demonstrate that you have learned the material.

If you do last minute revision to get through the exam the material only ends up in your short term memory and is soon forgotten. You may "pass the exam", but in essence you have cheated yourself. You are not any more capable after the exam than before.
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Online IanB

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #590 on: November 23, 2018, 05:21:29 pm »
That's fantastic. You got 100% in every exam? No need for revision at all?

In exams where I was properly prepared I got an A without any last minute revision. (My revision was done in the months leading up to the exam.)

In exams where I was not properly prepared the last minute revision was a stressful experience and it did not compensate for my lack of preparation. Those exams did not go well.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #591 on: November 23, 2018, 05:27:09 pm »
In exams people are only expected to remember, or be able derive on the fly, a modest pool of relationships that they have recently studied, and very recently revised on.
I'm not clear what I wrote that you disagree with.
I disagree that exams are (or should be) about remembering recently studied or revised material.
I didn't say they should. I only referred to what is tested. Did you get an A in English comprehension?
 

Online IanB

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #592 on: November 23, 2018, 05:50:25 pm »
I didn't say they should. I only referred to what is tested. Did you get an A in English comprehension?

In previous comments Hero999 suggested that people only temporarily remember what they need to pass the exams and then forget it soon after. While it is true that some people get through exams that way, I disagree that that is the expected outcome or purpose of exams. When you study and learn for the exams you are supposed to remember and use your learning afterwards without forgetting it. That is the purpose of education.

When people are comparing exams with coursework, I see little difference in the intention of obtaining an enduring education and internalizing the material.

So to be clear, I disagree that exams are testing short term memory. Exams are testing long term memory. People who try to pass exams relying on short term memory ("study for the test") do not do as well as people who have learned, practiced, and inwardly digested the subject matter.
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Offline coppice

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #593 on: November 23, 2018, 06:09:36 pm »
So to be clear, I disagree that exams are testing short term memory. Exams are testing long term memory. People who try to pass exams relying on short term memory ("study for the test") do not do as well as people who have learned, practiced, and inwardly digested the subject matter.
An exam tests what you know between the time the exam starts and the time it ends. Nothing more, and nothing less. If people haven't learned the material well enough for it to stick, that makes something of a farce of the whole educational process, but the exam only tests what is remembered in the moment. Some people get nervous and in an exam, and  can't recall half the stuff the knew well for months before the exam. Many people seem to forget a lot of the material just after an exam, as they relax from the stress of it. This is all rather unfortunate, but it doesn't affect the reality that an exam only tests what can be recalled during it.
 
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Offline Howardlong

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #594 on: November 23, 2018, 08:44:07 pm »
In exams people are only expected to remember, or be able derive on the fly, a modest pool of relationships that they have recently studied, and very recently revised on.

I disagree with this. Although many people scrape through exams by last minute cramming, this is not the best way to pass them. In all the exams I have done well on I knew the material off by heart before the exams came around and did no last minute revision for them. In fact, when I was doing O-levels (16+, GCSE, whetever they were being called at the time) I used the revision time to go swimming or go out and do other stuff, anything to clear my mind of the exam material. Cramming leads to stress, and stress leads to poor performance.
That's fantastic. You got 100% in every exam? No need for revision at all?

I'm not clear what I wrote that you disagree with.

Interestingly enough, when I did my pilot exams in later life (late 40s), it was the first time I’d done a formal exam since graduating aged 21, so I was very rusty about revising. Apart from the first exam (there were seven at the time, I think it’s nine now), I managed 100% in every one. How I wish I’d known how to achieve that level all those years earlier!

My “trick” was simply to read the texts, then do a representative test paper, then rinse and repeat concentrating particularly on the weak areas, until I could get 100% every time. Sometimes it was only three iterations, sometimes seven or eight. Achieving perfection became a bit of a personal goal, especially as I’d generally only ever achieved relative mediocrity in my academic exams. You didn’t need 100% to pass, I think 70% was the pass mark when I did them.

Pretty much if I knew I had the exam on Tuesday, if I spent the while of Monday learning ab initio I could be reasonably sure of a 100% pass mark the next day, but it did need total uninterrupted concentration.

Could I pass those exams now? Nope. But then I am pretty sure most of us couldn’t pass many of our university exams now either.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2018, 09:02:34 pm by Howardlong »
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #595 on: November 23, 2018, 09:19:38 pm »
Although I've never been too bad at exam stress, it must affect me to some extent. One of my highest scores was when I did an exam under the influence of alcohol. I wasn't completely drunk, but had forgotten I had an exam that day, I through it was the following week, so I went to the pub before hand and had a few beers. I turned up to class and to my shock the exam was that day, but I think I did better, because I was more relaxed.

Note that I'm not advocating drinking before exams and there's no chance in me repeating this as I don't drink nowadays.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #596 on: November 23, 2018, 10:23:42 pm »
At the end of the article it talks about boys being behind at school, which has been the case in the UK for a long time. Girls have been getting better GCSE (exams at the end of year eleven, when the students have turned 16) results than boys for a long time. There are various theories about this but I think it's because girls are generally more submissive and likely to do what their told than boys who are more likely to rebel.

Ask any pre-school teacher and they'll tell you a class of mostly girls is much quieter and easier to control because they are happy to just sit there and do something most of the time.
A class of mostly boys is a wildly uncontrollable free-for-all.
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #597 on: November 24, 2018, 01:06:46 am »
At the end of the article it talks about boys being behind at school, which has been the case in the UK for a long time. Girls have been getting better GCSE (exams at the end of year eleven, when the students have turned 16) results than boys for a long time. There are various theories about this but I think it's because girls are generally more submissive and likely to do what their told than boys who are more likely to rebel.

Ask any pre-school teacher and they'll tell you a class of mostly girls is much quieter and easier to control because they are happy to just sit there and do something most of the time.
A class of mostly boys is a wildly uncontrollable free-for-all.

This sounds like the “agreeableness” trait, where women tend to be more agreeable than men, on average. What is open to question is how much of this trait is innate vs socially constructed, in other words nature vs nurture. I’m happy to accept it’s a bit of both, but the blank slaters will say otherwise.
 

Offline Circlotron

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #598 on: November 24, 2018, 02:27:44 am »
^^ The earlier they display this trait the more likely it is to be innate, I would think.
 

Offline julianhigginson

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Re: Gender politics has now infected engineering as well.
« Reply #599 on: November 24, 2018, 04:14:28 am »
as the parent of both a boy and a girl, who has watched how others interact with my kids,  I can tell you that in my experience, people start socialising girls to be compliant and quiet *way* before preschool.

Anyway - back onto the topic. here's an article about a study that shows regular people exhibiting unconscious bias towards boys over girls in early STEM education
https://www.smh.com.au/education/adults-dumb-down-science-lessons-for-girls-study-20181010-p508qe.html
 


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