The New Report on the VCE Exams is Out

The report of the VCE exam review conducted by Dr. John Bennett has been handed down. The media release is below and the Executive Summary of the report is here (and in Word). Presumably, there is no intention to release the full report. (23/03/24. And my presumption was wrong. See the update below.) I haven’t yet had a chance to look at anything, and I may update this post later.

UPDATE (20/02/24)

VCAA’s acting CEO, Kylie White, gave a lengthy ABC interview this afternoon. There are also reports in the AgeHerald Sun and EducationHQ.

I’ll leave off writing any detailed thoughts about the report until the dust and my brain have somewhat settled. In brief, while there are significant nits to pick the report is very good on some important recommendations. In particular: employ competent mathematicians; and report in a timely manner. These are not magic wands, but they would be big and important steps.

Continue reading “The New Report on the VCE Exams is Out”

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”

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”

Did VCAA Misgrade the 2022 Exams and, if so, Why?

This will be my last VCAA post for a while. I’m sick of it all. And, anyway, it’s now a matter of waiting to see what the Minister and the newly acting CEO of VCAA will do. I think both of them have demonstrated some genuine interest in repairing the mathematics exams, and I think both of them deserve an honest shot at it, without a nasty blogger sniping at them. But, there’s one last post I think must be written.

One of the lingering puzzles of VCAA’s Deloitte Debacle is why VCAA were so determined to game their mathematics exam reviews so much. VCAA were clearly determined beyond all plausibility to ensure that Deloitte examined nothing beyond trivialities, and it seems VCAA didn’t let a proper mathematician get within a country mile of the exam questions. But why? Sure, the 2022 exams were, as always, bad, with, as always, bad errors, and any halfway honest review would have been plenty embarrassing. But bureaucratic deceit can only hide so much, and not nearly as much as VCAA had to hide. So now, rather than simply looking like a gang of clowns, VCAA looks like a gang of deceitful clowns.  Continue reading “Did VCAA Misgrade the 2022 Exams and, if so, Why?”

Critique of the 2023 Victorian VCE Mathematics Exams

Sorry guys, it ain’t gonna happen. Burkard’s and my 2022 critique was time-consuming and exhausting and stressful. We’re not doing it again. Ever. So, for this year the Discussion posts (here, here, here, here, here, here and here), and the Errors post will have to do. Continue reading “Critique of the 2023 Victorian VCE Mathematics Exams”

A Student Petition on the VCE Exams

A group called High School Activate has launched a petition, to the VCAA and the Victorian Minister for Education, on the VCE errors business. I obviously agree with and support plenty (but not all) in the letter. But just to be clear, I have no idea who HSA are, and they definitely aren’t me or associated with me.

Presumably the intention is for the petition to be signed by current and finishing school students, but it’s up to you/HSA.

Continue reading “A Student Petition on the VCE Exams”

What Are the “Errors” on the 2023 VCE Mathematics Exams?

Given the wide interest, I think it is worth compiling all the “errors” on this year’s six maths exams. (See here, here, here, here, here and here for the discussion posts.) So, please list whatever you believe to be an error, and please indicate whether you regard each error as “major” or “minor” (see below). Justification is not required but may be helpful. Then, soon, I’ll try to update the post with a summary. Continue reading “What Are the “Errors” on the 2023 VCE Mathematics Exams?”

Open Letter to the Victorian Minister for Education

As I wrote about briefly, in December last year Burkard and I wrote a critique of the VCE mathematics exams, which was to form the basis of VCAA’s external review. As I’ve just written, here, dealing with VCAA was incredibly frustrating. More importantly, the overview VCAA released to us has entirely hidden the substance of the external review, and/but the review seems to be nothing more than distraction and whitewash. In particular, there still seems to be no clear appreciation within VCAA that mathematical truth is a thing, and that properly qualified mathematicians are by far the best judges of that thing.

Continue reading “Open Letter to the Victorian Minister for Education”

Witch 113: Smoothing Over the Cracks

This one is a combo WitCH. The main concern is a multiple choice question from last week’s Methods Exam 2. The question may not be an “error” in the newspaper sense, but it is bad. To appreciate some (but far from all) of its badness, however, we need to see VCAA’s solution. We won’t likely see that solution, however however, for months, if ever; transparency is not VCAA’s strong suit (Section 7).

To deal with this, we’ve teamed up last week’s MCQ with a similar MCQ from the 2021 Exam 2, together with VCAA’s solution to that earlier question from the exam report. Last week’s question appears first. Continue reading “Witch 113: Smoothing Over the Cracks”