Barry Humphries and the Transience of Comedy

This post is a little overdue, or long overdue, depending on how you look at it. Barry Humphries died in April, and a couple weeks ago there was a State Memorial for Humphries at the Sydney Opera House. I watched a little of the Memorial, but it was wrong and depressing, and I gave up. Humphries was as Melburnian as it gets and a Memorial in Sydney, whatever its other merits, simply made no sense. The Memorial prompted me to begin an overdue post, however, and finally, overoverdue, here it is. Continue reading “Barry Humphries and the Transience of Comedy”

An AMT Coda

A few months ago, I wrote about the Australian Maths Trust and their recently held competition, the AIMO. AMT’s CEO, Nathan Ford, had demanded an alteration to an AIMO question at the last minute, based upon an absurd and absurdly argued concern about “gender contexts”. Ford’s behaviour resulted in the writer of the AIMO question resigning from his volunteer role on the AIMO committee and all his paid work at AMT. This post is a coda to that shameful episode. Continue reading “An AMT Coda”

The Complex Roots of VCAA’s Defence

1. Introduction

Sometimes VCAA is their own worst enemy. Well, no: we all know the identity of VCAA’s worst enemy. But on occasion VCAA places runner up. Maybe third.

I’ve been pondering VCAA’s major 2022 errors, how they could have occurred and how VCAA could continue to defend the flawed questions for so long, against all reason. Yes, “VCAA is nuts” springs to mind. But that’s not enough. VCAA being nuts is necessary but not sufficient to explain this extended episode of madness. Continue reading “The Complex Roots of VCAA’s Defence”

The Stability of Stupidity

We’ve been pondering VCAA’s weird defence of their 2022 exam questions, and we decided to investigate a little. We’ll write more on this soon, but for now just a quick post on something very unsurprising that we stumbled upon in the Year 12 Specialist texts. The following is an exercise that appears in both Jacaranda and Nelson (but not in Cambridge): Continue reading “The Stability of Stupidity”

PISA Triangles

Tony Gardiner did some hunting and found a document containing PISA’s released mathematics items for 2022. In a comment on our PISA non-post, Tony made some remarks about a triple of triangle questions contained in the document. The questions, each with the same triangle picture prompt, are below. The questions are followed by PISA’s discussion. The detailed marking rubric can also be found in the items document (pp 9-14). Note that PISA is a test for 15-year olds; as with all such tests, the questions are intended to range from easy to difficult.

Continue reading “PISA Triangles”

VCAA’s Defence of the Indefensible 2022 Exam Questions

The most maddening aspect of VCAA is their steadfast refusal to admit error. Typically, VCAA simply will not engage and whatever nonsense they’ve written remains written. 2022 was different, however, in that Burkard and I badgered VCAA sufficiently for VCAA to decide to conduct an external review(s). As well, a mathematics teacher complained strongly enough and unwaveringly enough about the four bad Specialist Mathematics questions that a substantial response to his specific objections was required. Continue reading “VCAA’s Defence of the Indefensible 2022 Exam Questions”

The Cheese Story, Part Two

In 2015, pre-blog, I was not the dedicated thug that I am today. I had already taken a few potshots at VCAA, but I hadn’t gone in hard. I understood, of course, that VCAA was prone to being arrogant and inept, but I hadn’t yet concluded that they were systemically arrogant and inept. I hadn’t yet realised the magnitude of the target. So, in 2015, when two teachers approached me complaining about a VCE exam question, I handled it differently than I would now. Then, I was polite and patient with VCAA. We all learn.

Continue reading “The Cheese Story, Part Two”