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Examinations should they fail?

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Original Message Post # 1
Wed 19th Mar 2008 13:38
Mr Snow

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Tae Kwon Do has an examination process which we all go through, In the LTSI we have our own syllabus book which took me two years to wright and put together which is ITF based. Over the last few years Many Masters have seen it and said it delivers a good standard and loads of knowledge to boot.
 
My history was I bought up by now G.M. Choy from the UK and his opinion was if you can not perform the TUL at a set standard or break the required tecniques you fail at exams.
 
So when we left his group we have always applied these rules - Last weekend we had 110 members grade of which 1- 3rd kup, 3 - 4th kups, 1 - 6th kup and a 7th kup all failed. Most were because of breaking and two were due to poor patterns and understanding of tecniques, esp with regards to self defence aspect.
 
The question:  I have been told that it is wrong to fail anyone at examinations even if they are not upto target , My concern is this was an ITF Master from ITF NK.group. If we are asked to promote our instructors members as interantional examiners for the ITF and they are not upto the standard surely we MUST fail them and make it clear rank is not bought but earnt by tecnical merit only.
 
The Master said "It is wrong to fail anyone esp if it is on breaking only as the ITF never fails people on breaking' true or not?
 
What do you think should students fail exams, Personally I think they have to fail if they dont meet the standards set, as to breaking I think this is important when you are young but should be stopped at a given age to protect the student. (We stop them at 50)
 
Any imput on this matter?
C.R.SNOW 5TH DEGREE
WWW.UK-LTSI.COM
Post # 2
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 14:15
Michael Boik
Joined: 15/04/2007
Topics: 11 Replies: 35
I think failing is a big part of testing. Students should understand there are consequences to doing poorly on tests. A student should look at it as a learning experience and to encourage them to do better. If you don't fail then why test in the first place.

Taekwon!!

Mike
Taekwon!!

Mike

www.drysdaletkd.com

Post # 3
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 14:28
Jon_Mackey

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I think a couple of things need to be factored in.

Should a person fail on not performing breaking? That depends. All aspects of the grading shoud be marked as to give a total at the end. Therefore if your student has performed well at patterns and poorly at breaking well then surely a fail is not necessary. If the student has performed poorly all round well then a fail might be on the cards.
If the student has tried hard to break, has shown indomitable spirit (not showing fear of the board!) and has tried their best to break well then they deserve credit for their effort. If protocol is bad at the board holder and the student performs a weak break due to lack of effort well then thats different.

On a whole, my opinion is that no child should have to fail a grading. The onus is on the instructor to have them prepared enough to make a good effort at it. Any child that is put to test and is below standard or ability - the instructor is at fault. Therefore it must be stressed to younger students about taking their time marching up the ranks and spend adequate time at each kup.

An examiner must have Taekwon-Do in mind when they conduct tests. Ther roll is to ensure that Taekwon-Do ability and knowledge is understood by everyone practicing Taekwon-Do and that the correct teachings are passed on. For some instructors grading days are all about money and will pass the worst student on the floor. This is bad, not only for the student but also for the examiner, who's name will go on their certificate. It's bad for the student because they are promoted to the next rank without the adequate knowledge, chickens will come home to roost when the student decides to attend IIC's, Seminars, tournaments etc and performs below standard.

Personally, I wouldn't stop students breaking at any age. I don't think its up to anyone to say when a student must stop practicing an aspect of Taekwon-Do. General Choi would condition his hands etc everday well into his 70's and maybe more.
It must be the student who decideds when their bodies have wound down sufficiently enough to stop performing certain parts of Taekwon-Do. Its worth noting that special padded boards can be used to alleviate any impact injuries to older joints or younger ones for that matter.

Just my thoughts, interesting topic Mr Snow, thanks for bringing it up!
Jon

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde
 
 
Post # 4
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 14:40
Mark Skyrme

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I agree Mr Mackey.
 
I was presented an ITF Encyclopedia by my Instructor many years ago with a hand written note on the inside cover:
 
"No such thing as a bad student, Only a bad instructor"
 
No prizes for guessing who my Instructor is, I only every had one Thumbs Up
 
Mark Skyrme

facile est inventis addere.
it is easy to add to things already invented.
www.tkd.co.uk

Post # 5
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 14:44
Jon_Mackey

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LoL, Master Nicholls came to mind while I was writing that!

We did very tough tests under him at IST. He wasn't afraid to fail students, which, as students who passed made us all the more happy, or relieved!
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde
 
 
Post # 6
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 15:49
Mr Snow

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Mr Mackey,
Thanks for your imput, We dont say dont break we just say that its not important once over 50, If they can perform why not let them break but for women at 45 the bones get frail and deteritae or so Im told so we make it optional.

Some good points put forward though thanks, It has to be said also I think Master Nicholls said once to me we must grade all members to there abilities not what we believe they should be able to achieve in other i think he was saiying just because we can achieve good will not mean the rest of the world can reach the same goals so be fair.

I personally would like to see a course put on for Examiners where we could discuss this matter further and bring a set group of guide l;ines that we all could follow. I hate failing anyone but I always think earning the grade is better then just purchasing it.

I dont know maybe we are harsh but to date its worked and made the student work harder - Is it to extream I dont know? :-(

C.R.SNOW 5TH DEGREE
WWW.UK-LTSI.COM
Post # 7
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 15:55
Mr Snow

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Mr Skyrme,
I ticked add a poll to this topic but it did not work, is the poll somwhere else on the site, I would like to see what others think with the way I set it up. - Computers there like students, somtimes no matter what you tell them they still go wrong.

Thanks Sir
C.R.SNOW 5TH DEGREE
WWW.UK-LTSI.COM
Post # 8
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 16:30
Nick Malefyt

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Taekwon-All,

This topic has been heavily debated on the only other "Forum" I participate in.

Of course there will be many opinions on this subject. I would call my own gradings the training cycle plus one (the one being knowledge/theory/TKD contibution). Students must demonstrate fundamentals, patterns, appropriate sparring, self-defense, and breaking, and must also have a thorough understanding of knowledge/theory based on the syllabus of the organization. They must also contribute to handing down ITF Taekwon-Do

To me Fundamentals, Patterns, and Theory are pretty firm - you either know them or you don't. Self-Defense is also to a degree pretty firm - you can usually tell if an application would work - or not. Although I do feel all students should be prepared to demonstrate movements that incorporate attacking, releasing and breaking motions. In gradings (to me) the wild cards are sparring and breaking

Step sparring for example might be cut and dry if the organization has set requirements based on rank - you either know them or you don't. But if nothing is set and the student has failed to prepare that should also be clear to see. Personally Free sparring is it's own animal. How do you grade free sparring - if someone has a great turning kick and they can score at will with it and they are grading for 5th Dan and now say all they do is that turning kick - is that acceptable? They have mastered the kick - but should not more rank appropriate techniques be demonstrated that show a progression in sparring skill? Should defensive tactics (dodging) be taken into consideration? How about grading people sparring multiple people? Also how should a person who "paces" themself while sparring be graded? (Poorly I think)

To a degree breaking can be firm - you either do or you don't break sure. But are you comparing a 2 board speed break with a 7 board power break? Are you comparing a 1 station break to a 5-6 station break - where a person as to move from station to station to show a wider array of breaking skills. Or is mass destruction a clear demonstration of the power of a technique? Again to a large degree this is up to the examiner and what they are looking for

Bottom line for me - whatever the organizational requirement is should be known to the person grading so they have the ability to prepare properly for the grading. If all of those things are known, and worked on, a fair assessment can be made. All-in-all everything needs to be taken into consideration. Yes people should fail if they are not prepared and the person's instructor does have an obligation to see that they have been trained accordingly - or they should not be given the priveledge to grade.

Nick Malefyt, V Dan
US-ITF
Post # 9
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 17:09
Michael Boik
Joined: 15/04/2007
Topics: 11 Replies: 35
I have a question. Do you feel that having an examiner from outside your school help you in gauging where you need to concentrate in your teaching? Maybe more in sparring or SD.

Mike
Taekwon!!

Mike

www.drysdaletkd.com

Post # 10
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 17:38
Nick Malefyt

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Mike,

Personally I think having other examiners is great. They can share their opinions on your grading methodolgy, and on specific strong or weak points that you can later address.

However, on a day-to-day basis, only the instructor(s) at the school will know how successfully their student is progressing as they have most likely seen them at their best and worst. The grading is only 1 day. The training that is done in between gradings is equally important. To me its the journey that counts - not the destination. Not that goal setting is not important

Nick
Post # 11
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 19:49
Michael Boik
Joined: 15/04/2007
Topics: 11 Replies: 35
Thank you, Mr. Malefyt. Are you coming to Michigan in June?
 
Mike
Taekwon!!

Mike

www.drysdaletkd.com

Post # 12
Top Wed 19th Mar 2008 22:01
Chris Peel

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I am not completely sure but if you are a member of the BTC in the U.K. you need to be carefull about telling students that  they have to successfully break to pass.  I believe it's to do with liability if they get injured.
Post # 13
Top Thu 20th Mar 2008 00:05
Mr Snow

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We are part of the BTC, That said we have a solicitor who works for our group. He stated as long as they sign the forms they understand there is risk envolved and we only invite them to break that will waver any rights, That said he did say it is a dodgy area we should be careful with :-)

One thing we do allow for Kwon shoes to be worn, This minimizes injury to the feet we find.

Mr Boik,
We only have one examiner at this time, Hopefully another one in September, I Agree in principle that its good for other examiners to test your members but its also not easy if you are a full time coach and have to live off the money you make from examining too. That being said I tend to be strict and very tough on my own members as they are with me all the time so mistakes by them means I hit the marks giving them poor grades.

10 years I watched as a Master Graded my members and now I see it as if you know your stuff and are true to the art then why can not you grade your own students? If the quality dropped in my 4 schools i personally run I would ask another to examine them but whilst I am very hard on them the standards are there so I see no reason to let the work out when I can do just as good. Only my opinion of course :-)
 
That being said if we hold a seminar I will always ask the Guest Master to grade my senior students or at the very least observe there standards and give advice.

Tae Kwon
C.R.SNOW 5TH DEGREE
WWW.UK-LTSI.COM
Post # 14
Top Thu 20th Mar 2008 00:42
Nick Malefyt

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Mike,

Yes. I will be in Michigan in June. I made thatt commitment to Master Drysdale 2 years ago in Ohio. Looking forward to training with you and seeing Master D again.

Nick
Post # 15
Top Thu 20th Mar 2008 19:42
Michael Munyon

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Greetings,

Upon reading all of these posts I had a memory of a few schools I used to train in. One was in Great Fall, MT and one was in Korea.

At these two schools, these particular instructors had the mind set that every class was a test. We all have seen some students who do the standard during class, but come testing they decide to give it their 100% best. Why does doing a formal testing, with a board of examiners and a specific date and time cause students to perform better then they normally do in class? Now this isn't for everyone, but for a minority.

These instructors would teach and oversee their students and when the time was right and they felt the student was ready for their next rank they would present them with their new belt and certificate at the end of class. This would be a total suprise to all the students.

Again, if the instructor feels the person should be promoted then promote them. A formal testing board is not necessary now or is it?

Just my 2 cents.

Taekwon!
Michael Munyon, VI Dan
US-ITF Armed Forces Director
Serving America, Armed Forces and the ITF
Post # 16
Top Thu 20th Mar 2008 20:39
Mr Snow

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Sir, I get your point but to me if you set a syllabus and they work hard to perfect and learn it, then they have to take an official test when all has been learnt they learn two things.

1. How to deal with pressure which is provern to help in many ways like sitting school exams, Taking higher education exams or even passing the driving license.
2. They walk away with knowing that they passed by earning the rank not because the instructor thinks that the grade should be awarded due to they are commited, After all an examiner has NO clue on there back ground and only promotes them on there merits.

Well I do, Just my too BOBs worth :-)

Tae Kwon
C.R.SNOW 5TH DEGREE
WWW.UK-LTSI.COM
Post # 17
Top Thu 20th Mar 2008 20:46
Michael Munyon

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Hello,

I was just sitting here recalling something that would help explain as to why they did it that way. I don't recall either one of those schools being very big. Meaning, they didn't have more then 40-60 students. I guess with larger schools group testings would make more sense. I do however admire the concept in which they promoted people.

Failing a student works in different ways. Yes, the student should learn from it and better themselves and test at another time. I'd personally have an issue if I was allowed to test by my instructor, flew out across the country round trip, pay for hotel, testing and more then likely seminar and be told I failed. I'd lose confidence and trust in my instructor (not to mention a lot of hard earned money) if that happened to me.

Let's face it. We don't just have students magically appear and say I want to test on a test date. They are told when and where to test by their instructor. We should strive to set our students up for success and not do a "let's see how they do at the test."

Good topic folks. I personally appreciate everyone's input.

Taekwon!
Michael Munyon, VI Dan
US-ITF Armed Forces Director
Serving America, Armed Forces and the ITF
Post # 18
Top Thu 20th Mar 2008 23:57
Mr Snow

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In the case when our members fail which is very rare now days, Even if the last exam we had a bad day - Those that fail are allowed to re-sit the part of the exam a set time after FREE that they failed on. We have a policy once you pay you never pay again as one of our ex orgs failed to bring in more revenue - now thats poor practice.

Tae Kwon
C.R.SNOW 5TH DEGREE
WWW.UK-LTSI.COM
Post # 19
Top Fri 21st Mar 2008 11:59
user18082

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Mr. Snow

Thats the way we do it here as well. Students fail, Instructors fail. This is a part of life that is important to learn. Just as losing in a tournament. We can not all win and look great all the time. It is how we rebound, attack our training and change our mental attitute.


Reapectfully


John Szostek
Post # 20
Top Fri 21st Mar 2008 15:15
Mr Snow

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Looking good .... Erm that gets harder as we get older, When your young the joints are suple and move easy but as the years go by it seems like harder work to throw the kicks like when you were 18, More concerntration on getting the machanics right.

I seem to self critize more now days and i am only 35, God I wish I was 18 again ..... or do I?

Or is this just me?

Tae Kwon
C.R.SNOW 5TH DEGREE
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