Category Archives: Education

ASSESSMENTS (EXAM TIPS)

That time of the year is by the corner when learners are bound to be assessed in the form of summative assessments. These are very crucial considering the weight they carry. Summative assessment can be loosely defined as a milestone in a learning process which seeks to ascertain whether the learner is “competent” or “not yet competent”. Learners are assessed on the subject content they have covered or are assumed to have been covered. It is not a screening tool to fail learners as some might think but a performance measurement tool although it indirectly screens learners as those who are found to be “not yet competent” are given an option to attempt a supplementary assessment provided they meet the minimum requirements for such an assessment. If they are “not yet competent” for the second attempt, they might be deferred meaning that they are expected to re-do the module [let us not consider this as an option as there are many consequences as a result of repeating]. However, this differs among various academic institutions that put in place the standards to be observed.

Summative assessment is conducted in various forms such as ‘end of year exams or national examinations’, ‘submission of portfolio of evidence’, and ‘project presentations’ among the common methods. They have to be carried out under specific minimum guidelines for credibility purposes hence learners should be aware of this as penalties which might be negative would be among the options for assessors, moderators and examiners. Therefore, familiarising with the rules and regulations put in place during such assessments is essential.

I have decided to share some few points on how learners can maximize their performance in summative assessments as presented below:

– Learners should know their progress mark and calculate what mark they need to score in the exam to get the desired mark such as a pass mark (50%) or a distinction (75%)

– Learners should also know all the topics which are part of the module guide and are to be asked in the exam (scope)

– Learners should identify their weak points and strong points in those topics identified

– Learners should find ways of improving their performance (by reading relevant material) where they need further understanding and seek assistance from classmates etc

– Learners should continuously review their performance before the exam to assess their preparedness for the exam/s

– Learners should identify any possible exam questions and fully understand them though revision

– Learners need to be aware of the marking style of every particular assessor/examiner (assessor and examiners specify how students should answer questions – this might not always be the case especially when national exams are prepared for however, making use of a standardized model answers would help at times)

– Learners should know the duration for every exam and spend appropriate time for every question in the exam

– Learners should maximise their speed and begin with questions which they understand better

– Learners should keep in mind that exams are only to determine whether they are competent or not competent. It is not a punishment in anyhow

– Learners should understand that assessments are a form of performance measurement tool.

Best wishes in your exams!!!!!

Graduation Celebration

There are different ways of celebrating an achieved milestone. Imagine what a student could do in style for celebrating for a qualification attained. Can it be close to what this couple did, best indeed!!!!! A qualification attained has to be celebrated after students spend various years of intense focus.

Motivation for Exams

It takes one to realise that no one can motivate oneself better than oneself. No matter what mark you got in the past, there is nothing you can do about it except learning from it if it was a poor mark or get inspiration from it to do more. What are your dreams? Did you know that your future begins in the next ‘second’ and now is the time to work upon your dream. Right now, you have the ability to take action, through study, research or writing. Maximise your potential during your most productive moment.

TIPS
– Only take a break when it is necessary.
– Sleep to relax your brains and not to enjoy you will be sleeping the way you like when you achieve that dream.
– Most dreams are not achieved not because of complex misfortunes, but because of poor timing.
– Spend your time wisely, for studies. Reduce the time which you spend with your friends when you are supposed to study unless you are having revision or discussions. Truly, your friends will not help paying tuition tomorrow.
– Life is pleasant with friends when there is money but the opposite when it is otherwise.

Social Media: FB Jokes (2)

CONTINUATION FROM THE PREVIOUS POST  As the lecture gave the assignments to the students, he jokingly said the following: An anonymous mini-research was conducted on 10 of students from Amsterdam University (Netherlands). This was made as a comparative research on a similar number of students at one of the universities in South Africa (name withheld) covering a period of one month.

The following were the findings, it revealed some interesting facts:
-Most students at a South African university has updated their profiles on average twice a day, they comments and post likings were unknown but estimated to be over 20 per day per student. There was a picture which attracted 32 likes and 164 comments (this photo showed a student with a killer smile having lunch at KFC with fried chicken estimated to be valued at R82)
-On the other hand, the Netherlands shows that they updated their profiles on an average of once every week, mostly like pages than making comments. One of the pictures showed 47 likes with one comment. It was of a student showing funny presentation products.

-Recommendations were that, Facebook should be integrated with classroom (use of group discussions, sharing of information) at one of the South African universities. On the other hand, the Amsterdam side attracts a need to further investigate on why they tend to like photos than making comments.

Later on, the lecture jokingly said: Who do you think has a better understanding of facebook usage between the two groups? Who spends more time?

The lecturer concluded that: “On average, a student from a South African university spends more than 49 minutes per day whereas one from Netherlands spends an average of 5 minutes per week.”

However, this presentation took the lecturer 10 minutes and by the time the lecturer finished, one of the students showed the lecturer the following: There was a facebook discussion about the presentation done by the lecturer on her profile; it was posted 2 minutes after the lecturer began his presentation. 7 students shared the post on their walls. There were 23 post likings and 52 comments.

This lecture was in one of the South African universities which were part of the case study research.

After that, the lecturer said: from today onward, we shall informally integrate our lectures with mini facebook breaks to increase levels of understanding and interaction. . . .

. . . and he said BUT use your time for a good cause, knowledge development discussions, and motivational material etc
—————–

It is not known what the response of these students were. What do you think would be some common responses from them?????

Social Media: Jokes – FB

An accounting class on a Marketing module covering social media as a topic and they wrote the following assignment.

QUESTION: Choose one social media (Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter] and critically discuss how it can be used for both marketing and relationship development for a start-up business. Motivate on the media chosen [25 marks]

SUMMARY OF MARKED ASSIGNMENTS:
-Out of 74 students who wrote, 68 choose Facebook; 2 Chose LinkedIn whereas 4 chose Facebook. 2 Students chose Whatsapp and changed to Facebook.
-Pleasing performance was shown on those who chose Facebook
-Some of reasons on why choosing a particular media were: “I am competent in the use of facebook”; “I tried twitter and got only 3 followers after a year”; “I just created a LinkedIn account and will fully use it when I start searching for a job soon after completion of my course”; “I enjoy most when using Facebook” etc

MORALE OF THE POST
Which social media has a big chunk of your time spent in social media? Spend time wisely in whichever media you choose.

Bcom Facebook: Joke

If Facebook was a Degree program, many individuals would pass with Cum laude grades. Most people spend every extra minute facebooking. Some are very excellent at analysing (user experience) that they even identify the weaknesses of some features and propose for possible changes on facebook. It is not only amazing to note how individuals find it simple to self study Facebook without a manual and again everyone will mostly be smiling when facebooking.

INTERESTING: Imagine, if we turn this, replacing the word “Facebook” with your “study course” e.g. Human Resources Management; and “facebooking” with “studying”. Great graduate will be produced.

Career choice

A Human Resources Management student after doing in-service (attachment) training

In a conversation of students sharing their experiences, this was shared by one of the students: “My in-service training was a blast. I enjoyed every bit of it but i am not sure whether it’s late for me to change my study program as i was inspired by the Job description of an Information Systems Manager whom i interviewed (panel interview).” He is the first to use every new technology the company decides to use and part of the benefit package is – no limitations for personal use. It was embarrassing to learn that one of an HR Manager terms includes the following; – Telephone strictly to be used for business purposes; family members may not be considered on our recruitment policy as it an element of discrimination . . . . ; promotions may be made into unrelated disciplines . . . REALLY, I HAVE TO DECIDE”

Are you studying what you wanted to? It is not late to chose a career path to follow. Follow your heart!!!

Masters’ Degree, worthy?

Private tutoring booming: Asia

Graduate with a Cum Laude!

Is it better to graduate with a Cum laude qualification?

For so long, I have been wondering why there are grades in every level of studies and I always wanted to get a clear understanding on what is believed as the difference between an excellence performer and an average student. It is indeed debatable to judge a student by the grade of the qualification which one got as some students can score the 90%+ as a result of cramming rather than studying for understanding yet someone could get a 60% average degree but with a great understanding of the degree content covered. Despite that, high percentage degrees are preferred in the job market as they are always attached with the level of intelligence to the qualification holder.

During my primary, my report was characterized by numerical grades i.e. 1, 2, 3 up to 9 (from the highest to lowest), my secondary education was however characterized by the following grades: A, B, C, D, E and U. however, passes from A to C resembling the highest grade to the average pass respectively. When I did my Advanced level of education, grades almost similar to Ordinary level were used with a ‘U’ replaced by ‘F’ and an ‘O’ grade being an additional grade which is higher than ‘F’. However, an ‘E’ is rendered as a pass different from the Ordinary level standard which has a ‘C’ as a least pass grade. To me, these grades translated the level of intelligence to the results bearer. Does it resemble performance or intelligence of the student? I always got confused to strike the difference. Well, my opinion might not be legitimate without supporting evidence. Different universities have different grades of passes however, mostly 50% being the pass mark. I always told myself that there is a reason why there are these entire grades instead of merely having failure and pass.

This article dwells much on tertiary level qualification grades and particularly – a cum laude. I learnt that there are also different levels of passes also at tertiary level with the common being: ‘Fail’, ‘Pass’ and ‘Pass-with-Distinction’. Some universities use grades such as 3; 2.2; 2.1 and 1 which classifies a qualification from average to highest grade. Most employers prefer graduates with highest grade especially in the private sector where competence, efficiency and productivity are a priority. This tend to be contrary when it comes to the public sectors which does not emphasises on top achievers as it ensures to be mean as it also strives to reduce unemployment by employing graduates who cannot be absorbed in the private sector.

Let me not focus on the difference of getting a ‘fail’ compared to passing because it is simple in that one is rendered not competent for a job whereas those who ‘pass’ stand a better chance to get a job. In a different note, those who fail to get a qualification tend to mostly get absorbed in family or friend’s businesses. Surprisingly, such individuals can be found doing extremely well which could prove that getting a qualification is not the only way out to a greater life.

In the mind of an entrepreneur, failing to attain a qualification does not mean much but signals ‘a need of another way of doing things’. There exists a difference in the quality of qualification as discussed below. For every qualification, there are admission requirements hence at some institutions, some lower level grade qualifications are not good enough unless where work experience counts as an advantage. In this regard, high grade qualification becomes an added advantage when a graduate seeks to study further as an admission enabler or when opting to join the private sector for employment. Also, when one seeks for a sponsor to further one’s studies, a need to have attained a high quality qualification is highly recommended.

With the growth of the usage of internet, educators or lecturers are capable of collaborating with learners in achieving maximum possible performance hence the competition among graduates can be said to be high with the use of this logical explanation. However, how good can be the qualification? A cum laude is title used to describe a qualification which is excellent such as attaining an average of at least 75% to 100%. With Latin honours, these are the following grades of cum laude qualifications as presented by encyclopedia:

“Cum laude – with honour

“Magna cum laude – with great honour”

“Egregia cum laude – with outstanding honour”

Summa cum laude – with highest honour”

Maxima cum laude – with very great honour”

However, different countries use different categories for grading criteria which is, unfortunately, not covered in this article. These grades are much used to undergraduates and rarely used to students taking masters or doctorate.

A different perception presents an objection with regards to getting cum laude grade. A friend of mine once told me that some employers do not go for high performing students simply because they might be lacking a skill of ‘managing failure’. A graduate with a mark range of, for example 82% to 98, on a transcript in other words could symbolise that the graduate has never experienced failure hence if employed in a business; the graduate might find it extremely challenging to cope with failure if ever the business gets into trouble. Such employers mostly prefer graduates with transcripts with varying marks which could reveal that the graduate somehow faced some challenges which the graduate managed to overcome. However, this is debatable on the basis of the perceptions of different managers.

I managed to graduate with a cum laude in Diploma in Entrepreneurship due to various factors. The most crucial was the love of the subjects that forms part of the qualification. At times, I never studied to pass but to improve my understanding in the field of entrepreneurship hence I could even read more that what was required for the assessments giving me a holistic understanding of the whole qualification. However, there were modules which I thought they should not have been part of the course which happened to be de-motivating to study. At times, I just studied to pass but not to understand as I viewed them as time wasters.

In conclusion, a high grade qualification is more preferable as indicated above. As indicated above, when a graduate aims to pursue another qualification to gain admission preference and sponsor during studies, a high grade qualification in crucial. It has also been identified that when understanding of the qualification content is the priority, from the content covered, an ordinary qualification is good enough for mastering the skills. Therefore, the most crucial thing is for the individual student to know what they want to accomplish after attaining their qualification. This puts one in a better understanding on whether one will be able to get admission in the chosen field of study and institution. This prepares for the elimination of some frustrations such as to be rendered as incompetent for further studies or having challenges to secure a sponsor.