Right, so I’m a postgrad student, and as a contributing member of society (as opposed to a slacker), I teach first year undergrads in the Physics department. What do I teach them? Maths.
Now to get in to do a physics degree you have to have A-Levels in maths and physics, at B or above. This means that they are all reasonably intelligent, and they all have more than a modicum of mathematical ability. They sat these exams in June, and now they come to us having promptly forgotten everything, and I mean everything that they have ever learnt about maths ever.
I get the most inane questions from them, things that they ought to know, and it appears that they’ve never even heard of them.
But you know what, I don’t blame the students, I blame the fucking exam boards. Culling the syllabi here and there, filling it with useless junk, making sure that everything is handed to students on a plate, so that they never ever have to think about what they are doing. In my last class I was accused of mathematical trickery and some sort of mathematical sleight of hand, because the students haven’t been taught basic concepts at A-level. Some of them can’t even do simple mental arithmetic
There is an outcry every year that standards are slipping, and you know what, I fully agree now. A-level students now, find the exam papers I did six years ago ridiculously hard, because they haven’t been taught it! Damn you incompetant exam boards. Damn you all!
There. That feels better now.