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Author Topic: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?  (Read 11022 times)  Share 

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exit

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Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« on: December 17, 2016, 06:05:24 pm »
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Edit: Is increasing scaling a good idea to boost the enrolment of LOTE subjects that are losing students?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 07:20:30 pm by exit »
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Alter

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Re: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2016, 06:41:32 pm »
+3
I have realised that in 2015 there were approx 2.7x more people doing VCE French than German, and about 1.5x doing Jap second language. From this, there is obviously a higher ratio of native speakers to actual second language learners doing German in comparison to French and Japanese. The scaling system does not compensate for this higher ratio [...]
I'm not sure how you made this jump in logic. Did you not consider that, maybe, French is a more common subject for schools to teach, or that teachers for German might be harder to find, and therefore less students are able to do the subject? Similarly, just because a subject has a higher overall number of students does not imply that there are a higher ratio of students in a certain subgroup.

Honestly, the scaling system set in place is completely fine for German, and if anything, arguably very generous given that LOTEs gain an artificial boost due to government policy. I have multiple friends who have achieved study scores ranging from 40-44 raw, having only studied German through the school language program and without having any family who spoke the language. The study score one gets is largely a product of individual effort and dedication to the subject, and it is definitely possible to outperform native speakers simply by being well prepared and studious. Being 'native' is not a prerequisite for doing well, and anyone who tells you otherwise does not understand how the subject works.

The examiners of German, above all else, understand that people doing the subject are not all necessarily 'native', and the study design stipulates the grammar skills and knowledge that are assumed--which I might add, are all completely reasonable. Only a certain level of expertise is required to do well in the subject, and having sit through VCE German I've never felt like I've been robbed of marks on the basis that "I couldn't do as well as someone else, because German isn't my native tongue". At the end of the day, the cohort is filled with students of all different skill levels, but it's not just those who are naturally inclined to do well that achieve the top scores. Heck, take a look at the high achievers list for German and you'll find a plethora of Anglo/non-German names (merely as an example).

I feel as though you're grasping at straws in an attempt to explain the gap between the scores in your accelerated subjects, as harsh as that might sound. I should add that your score in German is still quite good, and that one of the reasons it scales so well is because the cohort is typically quite strong at VCE in general. So while your visceral reaction might be to attack the integrity of VCAA, I really don't think the system is to blame here.

Have a nice day.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 06:45:14 pm by Alter »
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Re: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2016, 07:05:32 pm »
+1
I'm not sure how you made this jump in logic. Did you not consider that, maybe, French is a more common subject for schools to teach, or that teachers for German might be harder to find, and therefore less students are able to do the subject? Similarly, just because a subject has a higher overall number of students does not imply that there are a higher ratio of students in a certain subgroup.

Honestly, the scaling system set in place is completely fine for German, and if anything, arguably very generous given that LOTEs gain an artificial boost due to government policy. I have multiple friends who have achieved study scores ranging from 40-44 raw, having only studied German through the school language program and without having any family who spoke the language. The study score one gets is largely a product of individual effort and dedication to the subject, and it is definitely possible to outperform native speakers simply by being well prepared and studious. Being 'native' is not a prerequisite for doing well, and anyone who tells you otherwise does not understand how the subject works.

The examiners of German, above all else, understand that people doing the subject are not all necessarily 'native', and the study design stipulates the grammar skills and knowledge that are assumed--which I might add, are all completely reasonable. Only a certain level of expertise is required to do well in the subject, and having sit through VCE German I've never felt like I've been robbed of marks on the basis that "I couldn't do as well as someone else, because German isn't my native tongue". At the end of the day, the cohort is filled with students of all different skill levels, but it's not just those who are naturally inclined to do well that achieve the top scores. Heck, take a look at the high achievers list for German and you'll find a plethora of Anglo/non-German names (merely as an example).

I feel as though you're grasping at straws in an attempt to explain the gap between the scores in your accelerated subjects, as harsh as that might sound. I should add that your score in German is still quite good, and that one of the reasons it scales so well is because the cohort is typically quite strong at VCE in general. So while your visceral reaction might be to attack the integrity of VCAA, I really don't think the system is to blame here.

Have a nice day.

You're right. Thinking about it, I think the system is fine. I just didn't  like the idea of less schools offering German in comparison to French etc. (esp since the numbers are declining) Sorry if I made myself seem entitled etc.

Have a nice day too!  ;)

Edit: Just to clarify, my score was higher than the lowest prediction I made at the start of the year on Atarcalc. Actually very content since my school is very weak at German :) I still think something should be done about the dropping German numbers. It's a great language! what do you think about it?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 07:24:45 pm by exit »
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Alter

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Re: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2016, 07:23:49 pm »
0
Edit: My score was within my prediction I made on Atanotes since the start of the year,I expected the gap in scores. In fact, Since German scaled more this year, it's like I got 34 and I'm actually very content with my score given the circumstances. Just to clarify if you don't believe me. :) I still think something should be done about the dropping German numbers.
Yeah, absolutely true! I didn't mean to downplay your score at all, and especially if you consider it after scaling, your efforts will definitely put you in a good position to get a great score at the end of year 12. Best of luck.

edit: Didn't see that edit, sorry.

Can't really comment too much on the dropping numbers, but it could just be natural fluctuation given that its such a small subject to begin with anyway (compared to others). However, I'm totally in favour of students doing languages during VCE, but so many drop it simply because they're perceived to be so difficult. It's a shame.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2016, 07:29:03 pm by Alter »
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Re: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2016, 07:34:44 pm »
+1
Yeah, absolutely true! I didn't mean to downplay your score at all, and especially if you consider it after scaling, your efforts will definitely put you in a good position to get a great score at the end of year 12. Best of luck.

Look at this graph: http://www.sagse.org.au/news/the-status-of-german-language-education-in-victoria
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vox nihili

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Re: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2016, 01:06:46 am »
+1
Look at this graph: http://www.sagse.org.au/news/the-status-of-german-language-education-in-victoria

It makes sense though that German would be in decline and Asian languages would go the opposite way. The complexion of our community has changed enormously since the end of the white Australia policy, so it's no surprise that, as a society, we are increasingly casting our gaze towards Asia instead of Europe. Personally, I think whatever language you learn, it's beneficial and I don't really buy into the idea that some languages are better to study than others; however, with changing demographics you're going to see a change in the languages taught at schools :) (also probably helps that the Aus govt. has been incentivising Asian language study)




To go to your original point though, I think LOTEs are tricky subjects, because those with a background in that language are at an obvious advantage. How then, do we deal with that? Well, in Chinese we now have three streams. One for native speakers, one for people with Chinese heritage and another for everyone else. But that's only feasible for large cohorts and, really, is beset with its own problems anyway (e.g. what about people with Chinese heritage who've never learned to speak at home?).

A French person, or indeed a German, studying either one of these languages would obviously be at an enormous advantage, mainly because the cohort of learners is dominated by non-native speakers. Therefore, they're almost certain to score really well because one's score is effectively a comparison to the others in the cohort. The reality is that there's probably little we can do here. And really, they represent such a small group that it hardly affects everyone else's scores.

There are some smaller cohorts though where this is a huge problem. Spanish is an interesting example. Most students who take it in VCE do so because they speak it at home; however, there is a small group of students who don't, who still take the subject. These people could be enormously talented learners, but they're probably never likely to do particularly well in Spanish, because their score is contingent upon how they shape up against native speakers. This probably makes an unfair assumption though, as it assumes that native speakers will always do well. I've taught Spanish, and have taught native speakers—whose Spanish was much, much, much better than mine—but who could not write. They would have, very likely, been outperformed by the non-natives, simply because they couldn't write.


Really tricky area!
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Re: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2016, 09:43:57 am »
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It makes sense though that German would be in decline and Asian languages would go the opposite way. The complexion of our community has changed enormously since the end of the white Australia policy, so it's no surprise that, as a society, we are increasingly casting our gaze towards Asia instead of Europe. Personally, I think whatever language you learn, it's beneficial and I don't really buy into the idea that some languages are better to study than others; however, with changing demographics you're going to see a change in the languages taught at schools :) (also probably helps that the Aus govt. has been incentivising Asian language study)




To go to your original point though, I think LOTEs are tricky subjects, because those with a background in that language are at an obvious advantage. How then, do we deal with that? Well, in Chinese we now have three streams. One for native speakers, one for people with Chinese heritage and another for everyone else. But that's only feasible for large cohorts and, really, is beset with its own problems anyway (e.g. what about people with Chinese heritage who've never learned to speak at home?).

A French person, or indeed a German, studying either one of these languages would obviously be at an enormous advantage, mainly because the cohort of learners is dominated by non-native speakers. Therefore, they're almost certain to score really well because one's score is effectively a comparison to the others in the cohort. The reality is that there's probably little we can do here. And really, they represent such a small group that it hardly affects everyone else's scores.

There are some smaller cohorts though where this is a huge problem. Spanish is an interesting example. Most students who take it in VCE do so because they speak it at home; however, there is a small group of students who don't, who still take the subject. These people could be enormously talented learners, but they're probably never likely to do particularly well in Spanish, because their score is contingent upon how they shape up against native speakers. This probably makes an unfair assumption though, as it assumes that native speakers will always do well. I've taught Spanish, and have taught native speakers—whose Spanish was much, much, much better than mine—but who could not write. They would have, very likely, been outperformed by the non-natives, simply because they couldn't write.


Really tricky area!

Yeah, but French numbers have remained strong. There is however a noticeable decline in VCE German classes. Personally in my school, half the people who did 1/2 are dropping out. Having less LOTE classes is against what VCAA and the government want. I know as a fact that scaling for Specialist got inflated from 8 to 11 in one year to boost its numbers and perhaps it could be the same for LOTE. For the majority of students, language is HARD. A guy in my class who got 99.8 only got mid 30s for German. And the people who get consistent 48-50s in other science subjects and attend elite private schools tend to get 40-42 max (rare exceptions) This is only for German though. Since people doing LOTE usually have 2-4 years to try it, generally the people doing it for VCE are invested into it unlike other subjects where people only learn them for 2 years. So the demographics are also skewed.

People with a talent for language can still do well. But you also have natives bludging it and taking up a high score. An example is the German dux of my school. Did no outside class practice except listening to audio book on the train for detailed study. Played iPad games in class and got 38. (He admitted he put no effort into school and was very surprised at his atar)
« Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 10:03:06 am by exit »
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Re: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2016, 10:57:23 am »
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Very few non-native speakers will be inclined to carry Chinese into year 12, and given the importance of this language, this can only be detrimental to Australia's future.

Future Australians not speaking Chinese isn't really a problem.

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Re: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2016, 11:45:04 am »
+2
Yeah, but French numbers have remained strong. There is however a noticeable decline in VCE German classes. Personally in my school, half the people who did 1/2 are dropping out. Having less LOTE classes is against what VCAA and the government want. I know as a fact that scaling for Specialist got inflated from 8 to 11 in one year to boost its numbers and perhaps it could be the same for LOTE. For the majority of students, language is HARD. A guy in my class who got 99.8 only got mid 30s for German. And the people who get consistent 48-50s in other science subjects and attend elite private schools tend to get 40-42 max (rare exceptions) This is only for German though. Since people doing LOTE usually have 2-4 years to try it, generally the people doing it for VCE are invested into it unlike other subjects where people only learn them for 2 years. So the demographics are also skewed.

On scaling: languages get a boost of five points, which is a fairly sizeable chunk. I think that schools could advertise this a bit better though.

The Government will never address the 'native speaker' issue as it is just too hard to police. Students could always 'play dumb' in a placement test if that were brought in. It's sad though, because it means that very few non-native speakers will be inclined to carry Chinese into year 12, and given the importance of this language, this can only be detrimental to Australia's future.

I think you've hit the nail on the head here. It really is too hard to police and it's too difficult to enact a policy that encourages non-native learners to engage in the language as well as native learners. Their attempts with Chinese, though, have been laudable, but the same methods won't work for other languages, as the cohorts are too small.
I mean, we could always reject the suggestion that it's actually unfair for native learners to study their own languages at school. If someone had been doing extra maths classes since childhood and then smashed maths in year 12, we would admire them for their effort, not deride them for having had that extra experience. The same could be applied to LOTEs. People who've gone to the effort of learning their native language deserve to be rewarded for that effort.

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Re: Should scaling compensate for % of native speakers doing it?
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2016, 07:57:23 am »
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The only place where native speakers would significantly skew results would probably be in the small studies, where you would be most likely to have either native speakers or people with family who are native speakers. They have a different scaling system anyway, with what I can gather from the scaling report.
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