One of my photos

The A level results

August 20th, 2010 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 3 Comments · Life

The annual ritual of observing how, if the newspaper photographs are to be believed, only girls do A levels, has been observed in the Skuds household again this year, but in a less detached manner since our girl was waiting for her results.  The good news is that she got the results she needed to get accepted by the university she wanted to go to.

For a roundup of all the best newspaper photos I can recommend the Sexy A-Levels blog and for an alternative view of the media coverage, the ever-amusing As If… blog with their story Outrage as BBC shows repeats of last years’ A-level students jumping up and down.Well done to Chrystal anyway.  She is off to university, which is more than I ever did, and has A levels, which I don’t.

So. Do I think that the exams are easier than when I took them?  Or is Chrystal more intelligent than I am.  Or are teachers better now than they used to be?  All are possible, but I think it is much more likely that schoolkids today are a lot more motivated than they were thirty years ago and work harder, and that the education system has improved.

I suspect this has a lot to do with there being a lot more university places now than there were thirty years ago, which allows them to make offers of places to lower grades, which makes getting them more realistic, which supplies a greater motivation.

It may also be that students are encouraged to take A levels based on what they are likely to get the best result at rather than what would interest or challenge them more. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

It is also possible that students are discouraged from taking courses that they really want to, because they might do badly and screw up the school’ s league tables results.  Which, I think, would be a bad thing.

All together, the education system is now very focused on exam results, which is why they are improving – not because exams are getting easier.


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