The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain

by Harry on June 29, 2008

A short appreciation by Phil Jupitus available for a short time here.

For newcomers, here are renditions of You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Life on Mars (beautiful, actually), and, for the many Dick Barton fans out there, the Devil’s Gallop. I can’t find Anarchy in the UK, I’m afraid, you’ll have to see them live for that.

Marks

by John Quiggin on June 29, 2008

The eternal trench warfare between teachers and students over exams and other forms of assessment has long been a popular topic here at CT (unsurprisingly, viewed mostly from the teacher’s side of the barbed wire).

Having been on both sides at different times, I’m an observer of the process these days, since my research fellowship doesn’t involve running any courses (though I give a fair number of guest lectures in various subjects). Back in the 60s and 70s, when I was a student, the whole system of examinations and marks was one of the big targets of radical critique; even if relatively minor in the great scheme of things, exams loomed large in our lives, and seemed like a symbol of much that was wrong with society.

That kind of debate seems to have disappeared entirely. While a variety of alternatives to exams have been tried, the pressure to cut costs has driven universities (in Australia at any rate) back to heavy reliance on exams, and, within that, to heavy use of multiple choice and short-answer tests. But the real question is why universities spend so much time and effort on marks and grading, with the consequence of continuous low-level war between teachers and students.

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