A-level’s and grade deflation

One other story I missed, which has had a direct impact on my working life was the A-level exam results. They have been marked harder this year with lower grades issued. Also, the GCSE English exam seems to have been a stinker of a paper, that was marked harder.

Now on the one hand, I agree with the government here. For far too long we lecturer’s have been seeing the standard of fresher students gradually slipping, even thought their marks have been going up. My suspicion is that this reflects the fact that teachers at second level have got better at teaching students at passing the A-level’s (or similar exams in Scotland and Ireland) not too mention the pressure on exam boards too see education standards rise, with the false belief that rising exam marks means higher education standards – not so.

So while I welcome the government’s plans….but it would have been handy for you too tell us you what you were planning! These low results stuck many of us out of the blue. As a result many students will have failed to get the marks needed to achieve their conditional offers and forced to rely on clearing to get a university place (probably not the one they wanted). Word around the camp fire is that my department is in the clear, as the bulk of our CO student’s seem to have scrapped through, but I suspect there is considerable hair pulling going on other departments in other uni’s for whom those results would have been critical.

So it is rare you find me agreeing with the government, but sadly even now I have to say it represents yet another example of Tory government incompetence, more government by bungling, with the Tory’s coming up with a policy (on this occasion one that actually made sense) but they badly implemented it, largely as a result of their failure to consult with anyone outside of the usual Pimms cocktails set.


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