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Only students who attained an appropriate score on the computerized Test on Adult Basic Education (TABE) submitted the required documentation, met the screening requirements and been invited to enroll can sign up for this class.
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Mathematics--algebra, geometry, and the more advanced kinds of arithmetic--willnow enter into the syllabus and take its place as what it really is: nota separate "subject" but a sub- department of Logic. It is neithermore nor less than the rule of the syllogism in its particular applicationto number and measurement, and should be taught as such, instead of being,for some, a dark mystery, and, for others, a special revelation, neitherilluminating nor illuminated by any other part of knowledge.
It is clear that the successful teaching of this neo-mediaeval curriculum will depend even more than usual upon the working together of the whole teaching staff towards a common purpose. Since no subject is considered as an evil in itself, any kind of rivalry in the staff-room will be sadly out of place. The fact that a pupil is unfortunately obliged, for some reason, to miss the history period on Fridays, or the Shakespeare class on Tuesdays, or even to omit a whole subject in favour of some other subject, must not be allowed to cause any heart-burnings--the essential is that he should acquire the method of learning in whatever medium suits him best. If human nature suffers under this blow to one's professional pride in one's own subject, there is comfort in the thought that the end-of-term examination results will not be affected; for the papers will be so arranged as to be an examination in method, by whatever means.
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This all sounds rather impressive to the unaffected bystander, but British firms are struggling more and more, according to CIMA research, to find skilled candidates for junior roles: 31% of firms more than two months to fill junior roles, and on appointment, three quarters need further training. More than 90% of those surveyed in the UK reported that their workload had increased as a result of skills shortages, with 46% agreeing it had caused a fall in departmental performance. However, the top areas of weakness for new recruits seem to be much more on the side of ‘soft skills’, such as people skills alongside essential business know-how rather than the more academic skills that Gove advocates. With the new GCSE and A Level system focusing more and more on academics, and getting students from one education system to the next, these more ‘real-world’ skills seem to be getting gradually left by the wayside, creating concern in the business community.
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In 2013, Michael Gove announced changes to the education system which aimed to rescue this lack of essential – but wholly academic – skills from having a detrimental effect on young people’s futures, businesses and therefore the economy. The new GCSE and A Level system, set in motion as we speak, is set to ‘equip our children to go onto higher education or a good apprenticeship’ according to Gove: “That means more extended writing in subjects like English and history; more testing of advanced problem-solving skills in mathematics and science; more testing of mathematics in science GCSEs, to improve progression to A Levels; more challenging mechanics problems in physics; a stronger focus on evolution and genetics in biology; and a greater focus on foreign language composition, so that pupils require deeper language skills.”
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Numeracy was one of the weaknesses of school-leavers, which is a skill often found to be in need of improvement, but above all, people and business skills seem to be worst hit.