Monday, 24 August 2009

Ye gods!

The beginning of July was my last update? Sorry folks - a few family matters got in the way, and then a holiday.

I'll catch up with some thoughts over the next few days, but here's a starter - when are exams not getting easier?

For those puzzled by that remark, last week 17 and 18 year olds in England and Wales got their exam results, and it was proudly announced that on average 25% of those who entered for A-levels got a A grade, the top available.

Now, do not think for one second that I bemoan the work down by these students, or downplay their achievement, but an A is meant to be given for outstanding work. It used to be the case that meant a mark of 90% or greater. So what is the mark for an A now - or despite all the claims, are the exams easier?

It's probably a combination of both, but the downside is that there is little way now to identify outstanding candidates. There are reports of students with 6 A passes being turned down by every university they apply to, because there are "better candidates" out there.

The answer? No simple one, but one needs to be found before these exam passes become about as useful as a Bazooka Joe comic.


Mike Parnell said...

The state of North Carolina has the same problem. Students are getting too many As. What this does is water done an A. As you said, it is of no real value.

Glad you are back!

Tim said...

In Memphis City Schools, they've announced a plan by which no child will fail in grades K-3, no matter attendance or progress. Also, those in grades 4-8 will not fail more than once.