We’ve been remiss in not writing further on VCAA’s draft for the new mathematics VCE subjects. It’s just, for reasons we’ll explain briefly here and flesh out elsewhere, we’ve struggled to face up to this new nonsense.
But, feedback is due TODAY (midnight? – see links below), and we really oughta say something. So, here are our brief thoughts and then, after that, why we believe none of it really matters:
- “Computational thinking and algorithms” is pure snake oil. Inevitably, it will be nothing but wafer-thin twaddle for the training of data monkeys.
- The increased weight on these meaningless, revolting SACs is insidious.
- If we read it correctly, more weight will be placed on the non-CAS Methods/Specialist exams; it is not remotely close to enough, but it is good.
- Statistics was and is and will always be an insane topic to emphasise in school.
- Foundation Mathematics: Who Cares?
- General Mathematics: Who Cares?
- Mathematical Methods: same old swill.
- The deletion of mechanics from Specialist Mathematics is criminal, but the topic had already been so bled to meaningless that it hardly matters.
- In principle, the inclusion in SM of “logic” and “proof and number” and “combinatorics” is a good thing. We’ll see.
- Similarly, in principle the making of SM12 presumed knowledge for SM34 is good; in practice, it is almost certainly bad. Currently, a good teacher at a good school will take the freedom in SM12 to go to town, to show their students some genuine mathematics and real mathematical thought. In the future, that will be close to impossible, and SM12 will likely become as predictable and as dull as MM12 (and MM34 and SM34).
And now, why doesn’t any of it matter? Because, fundamentally it doesn’t matter what you teach, it matters how you teach. What matters is the manner in which you approach your subject and your students, and none of that will change in other than a microscopic manner. Nothing in VCAA has changed, nothing in the general culture of Victorian education had changed. So, why the Hell would twiddling a few dials on utterly insane subjects assessed in an utterly insane manner make any meaningful difference?
Everything VCAA touches, they will turn to shit. That will continue to be true until there is a fundamental cultural shift, in VCAA and generally.
I hate this place.