Being constructive

SandyHoodSandyHood Font Of All KnowledgePosts: 2,034Registered, Moderator
I was at the Southern Area Network Meeting for AAT lecturers. It was last Friday and pretty much all concerned deserve to be congratulated for a constructive approach.

We all know that there have been problems to do with the computer based exams [post=29848]
katie2008 has proposed a peaceful protest[/post] but I think that letting the AAT know that there has been a problem has been achieved already.

What was useful in the meeting was the apology from Clare Morley, and her commitment to get things right.
What was also useful was the general attitude of lecturers there to look to the future.
We were asked to identify the areas where we had found problems. Afterall without knowing what problems have been identified, it is very hard to find solutions.

I am sure that there has been a lot of anger about the problems and the knock-on effects. I've certainly spoken to students who are out of pocket because they'd taken time off work and/or employed child minders to take exams that didn't work out for no fault of their own.

But dwelling on the anger won't solve the problems. So I am inviting forum users to reply to this thread but am asking you to be constructive. Please vent your anger elsewhere, but if you can add specific difficulties you incurred that the AAT might be able to solve to make the exam process more effective next time, please add them.

I certainly think that the constructive approach that the lecturers took last friday is the right one.
Sandy
sandy@sandyhood.com
www.sandyhood.com

Comments

  • mgemge Feels At Home Posts: 94Registered
    Hi Sandy. Many thanks for this post, and for giving us a chance to offer some constructive feedback to the AAT.

    Aside from the obvious problems of CBAs crashing etc., the area in which I feel the AAT should now invest some of their resources is in ensuring that there is a greater variation in the CBA questions. I have taken seven CBAs (Level 3), and was very surprised by the similarity of these exams to the practice ones on this website. In fact, a few of the CBAs were virtually identical to the practice assessments (although obviously using different figures).

    Although this may be partly due to the fact that I was one of the first to take these exams, it is still rather worrying. I feel that in order to maintain its good reputation the AAT needs to do what it can to ensure that in order to achieve these qualifications students must learn to become good accountants, rather than simply learning to pass the exams.

    I realise that writing new questions must take a great deal of time and money. However, I feel that doing so is vitally important in order to maintain the value of this qualification.
  • janwaljanwal Experienced Mentor Posts: 1,189Registered
    Hi Sandy

    I must agree with Mge, I have just started the AAT and find there is not enough things to practice on, when doing paper exams you have passed papers going back years, but on level 2 there is only 1 practice assessment per CBA and after a while you tend to remember the answers rather than learning the work.

    I do appreciate this is all new and therefore no previous work to go on but we need to be given a chance to improve our knowledge and obtain a good qualification.
  • SandyHoodSandyHood Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 2,034Registered, Moderator
    I agree. The lack of past exam level questions was raised as a concern at the meeting.
    A related point was that some students had been upset that the exams they took asked questions in a different way to those in the sample.

    I see the preparation of students as my role as a lecturer. So I advise every candidate to read through the guidance notes to their units. I certainly continually refer back to mine. It is this, and not an interpretation that is used by an author to write his or her book, that will form the basis of the exam.
    I have a high regard for the publishers, and I know that Osborne books work very very hard to produce books that cover the standards. I am sure that the other publishers also work hard in the same pursuit.

    But you really need to discuss the standards with your tutors and see if he/she can give you questions to practice on. In fact, at this time there is a real added value if you go to college or have a nominated support tutor from your distance learning provider. His or her expertise will enable you to interpret the standards.
    Questions in the AAT exams should enable you to demonstrate that you are good because you know the subject well. They shouldn't be the same questions as the sample just with different numbers - that sort of exam could let down the prestige of the qualification.

    A little while ago, students who had the motivation to knuckle down could study the text book and go through past exams. Now that the exams have changed this is still possible but more difficult. I encourage you to join a college course, and recommend Chichester College.
    Sandy
    sandy@sandyhood.com
    www.sandyhood.com
  • blobbyhblobbyh Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 2,415Registered
    With respect Sandy, this forum is an official part of the official AAT website, paid for by all student and full members. As you and your colleagues are 'only' (not to be taken as being disrespectful) AAT tutors and lecturers, I don't necessarily believe it's your role to apologise on behalf of the whole AAT organisation even though your own sincerities are highly welcome as always. This section is/was an ideal opportunity for the AAT head-bots to come and interact directly and personally with their paying members but to my knowledge - and I may be wrong here, if so I'll say sorry - I've not seen any interaction of this kind so far.

    If this were Facebook fair enough but for the organisation heads to stay away from a major part of their own official site, kinda smacks of contempt to me.

    SandyHood wrote: »
    What was useful in the meeting was the apology from Clare Morley, and her commitment to get things right.

    Again with the greatest respect, but it wasn't you guys taking the clearly flawed CBA's and assuming Clare Morley is something to do with the AAT technical side, surely this apology is misdirected and would have been more appropriate had it been steered towards the students who did? I know this isn't what you wanted from this thread Sandy but I do believe from what you've stated, it seems the opinions of lecturers are worth more than those from the students who paid to take such an untested, ill rolled out and from what we've been reading lately regarding the delivery of exam results, still failing system.
  • AuntieTAuntieT Feels At Home Posts: 96Registered
    Constructive comments...

    MMM.....

    Being able to "tab" to next box - like you can in excel! Rather than being sure the cursor in the right box. A simple thing but I found it really off putting.

    Having to scroll all the way up to find info and then go all the way back down is not good!

    Will try and think of more constructive stuff
  • SusieQtipsSusieQtips Feels At Home Posts: 65Registered
    Constuctive comments
    AuntieT wrote: »
    Constructive comments...

    MMM.....

    Being able to "tab" to next box - like you can in excel! Rather than being sure the cursor in the right box. A simple thing but I found it really off putting.

    Having to scroll all the way up to find info and then go all the way back down is not good!

    Will try and think of more constructive stuff

    To continue on from AuntieT
    It would be helpful if boxes could be highlighted, when scrolling up and down moving figures e.g from trial balance to financial statments/ financial statements to consolidated statements so that it would be obvious which figures you have already used. In a paper exam you could tick them off but with all the scrolling up and down I'm sure students accidentally transpose the wrong figures.
  • JaffasGirlJaffasGirl Trusted Regular Posts: 387Registered
    One thing that would be good is making sure the screen is big enough for the entire page of questions. I nearly missed a question as i didnt realise you had to scroll down. Also, it would be handy for when you are trying to copy figures over.

    Another thing (and this might happen on the lengthier questions in the upper levels) but adding how many marks a question is would also be good,
  • AuntieTAuntieT Feels At Home Posts: 96Registered
    Agrree with both above!

    Even if things aren't auto highlighted, some way of marking numbers like we would on paper.
  • AK002AK002 Font Of All Knowledge Posts: 2,492Registered
    Think they should roll out 2 monitors.

    One for question and one for the answer.
  • welshwizardwelshwizard Trusted Regular South WalesPosts: 465Registered
    Hmm, constructive eh?

    - Get rid of the red!

    - Make the fonts scaleable so that people with eyesight problems can adjust font size so that they can read things comfortably.

    - Completely remove the need to scroll up and down.

    - As someone says earlier - allow tab between boxes.

    - In ETB make it possible to highlight the row the candidate is working on (just as they have done in less messy t-accounts).

    OH yes, my final entries on my wish list....
    Get the results reporting right! Get the results to candidates when you promise.
    Don't start apology letters to candidates who are waiting for results with: " Dear xxx, I am sorry..."

    Final thing that will nevre ever be achieved - someone at a very high level should now be leaving the employ of the AAT. Students have lost faith in the AAT and Training Providers are starting to feel that the AAT's credibility is being eroded to a critical level. Imagine if this sort of thing went on in a higher profile organisation (ACCA, CIMA, CIPFA or even my own place of work) - someone would certainly lose their job and IT contracts would be reviewed. Has no-one heard of contingency planning?

    Here endeth the rant.....

    (On a positive note: the AP1 and BCG CBAs now seem to be working without any technical glitches...)
  • NiaNia Feels At Home Posts: 72Registered
    Some of the wording in the CBA's isn't very clear. I've just been looking at the spreadsheets practice assessment book and the wording is awful. I'm an advanced excel user and some of it baffled me - I managed to suss out what was required, but I'm sure some students won't be able to.
  • katie2008katie2008 Trusted Regular Posts: 294Registered
    Hmm, constructive eh?

    - Make the fonts scaleable so that people with eyesight problems can adjust font size so that they can read things comfortably.

    - Completely remove the need to scroll up and down.

    Those two are on my wishlist. I have poor eyesight and that is why I prefered paper based exams. Still, got to move with the technologies! I am glad the aat have admitted there is an error. Im not fussed (well anymore) about the two exams pending results, I'm focusing on the other three I have to get through.

    Good luck everyone :)
  • welshwizardwelshwizard Trusted Regular South WalesPosts: 465Registered
    Nia wrote: »
    Some of the wording in the CBA's isn't very clear. I've just been looking at the spreadsheets practice assessment book and the wording is awful. I'm an advanced excel user and some of it baffled me - I managed to suss out what was required, but I'm sure some students won't be able to.

    Be warned! Header does not always go at the top of the page! The wording on a practice document I saw said header and actually meant column heading!
  • NiaNia Feels At Home Posts: 72Registered
    Be warned! Header does not always go at the top of the page! The wording on a practice document I saw said header and actually meant column heading!

    Classic! Thanks WW
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