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Give me an A

A-level reputation in severe decline...now even an exam board chief doubts their value - Times Online
The reputation of A levels has been dealt a blow after the head of an exam board expressed doubts about their value. Simon Lebus, group chief executive of the Cambridge Assessment board, part of Cambridge University, said that examiners, regulators and politicians had all been wrong in failing to address declining public confidence in “A-level currency”....He cited research from Dr Robert Coe, of Durham University, showing that A-level results for pupils of the same ability improved by two grades between 1988 and 2006.

The A-level pass rate has risen for 25 successive years, reaching 96.9 per cent this year, with nearly one in ten candidates achieving three A grades.

The Government and examination boards have emphasised that improvements to A-level standards are the result of better teaching and learning, even though opinion polls have shown that nearly half the public believe that A levels have become easier.

"A" level students work incredibly hard and are bright, and it is insulting to them that their achievements are now in a devalued currency. It means that they are being insulted and put down because the Government want "everyone to be a winner". It's a bit like boasting of climbing Snowdon, but now being allowed to take the train. Their pride is being stolen by the system and that is unforgivable.

Comments

What is worst about this, to my mind, is that it's not the genuinely bright students who are getting higher grades. The less bright students are taking more courses like psychology and media studies, and the medium-bright students who take more challenging subjects like history don't actually bother to learn history, they just learn how to pass a test, they teach themselves a mark scheme and nothing more. The only people who learn anything of value are getting Bs instead of As, and of course as the exam boards try to compensate for the rising graes they make the tests harder - but only for the bright students as everyone else is learning mark schemes.

But pride is the greatest sin of all. For in order to be proud, one must have achieved something and as we all know achievment is a zero sum game so if you have achieved, I have lost. Therefore achievment cannot be allowed and nor can pride.

Complaints from the universities are a bit rich: how many of nature's 2.2s are now given 2.1s?

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