Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Are exam boards just plain daft?

Apparently now the way to make A-Levels harder (ie more useful for university selection processes) is to add some additional harder compulsory or optional questions to the papers that can be used to assign A* and A** grades.

Whilst adding harder questions is probably desirable to sort out the wheat from the chaff as it were... WHY do we need A***** type nonsense. Just give out less As.. If only 10% of students are meant to get As, set a higher target pass score to ensure that only around that %age do get them! Sheesh it isn't rocket science is it.

Governments seem to worry far too much about fairness. But surely the best 10% in one year aren't going to differ much from any other year, especially averaged across the whole country. And even if they do - it is still that 10% that the universities want to identify.

Instead of making up new silly grade names - just make getting an A hard! Like it was always meant to be...

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2 comments:

San de Berg said...

It does seem completely backwards really. They've devalued the 'top' A grade so much but don't want to tell students who believed they were A students that they're actually no better than a high C.
Or rtaher it'd be the parents that complain.

Universities want the best students. Having 50% of applicants with A's (no matter how many stars)is pointless and will just return us to the older practise of applicants being chosen by which school they went to.

Perhaps we should regrade from scratch with new terms instead of letters and stars?

Genius
Clever sod
Above average
Average
Moron
MacDonalds employee
Jade Goody

Wreckferret said...

I agree.
All this 'star' nonsense was pointless.
Just make sure that the exam is of a suitable difficulty that 70% (or whatever) is an A.
If one year, it turns out that only 6% of the country get A's rather than the 'expected' 10%, then it's a bad year.
But don't keep trying to fix the distribution.
Like Stephan says, it devalues the grades overall.
If someone isn't up to the grade- give them an F.
Don't make it so they can get a C, just so the schools can say 97% of their students 'passed' when a C is 30% or some such nonsense.

It's just massaging the ego of the rich (but thick) parents of their rich (but thick) kids who get 10 A's and who the desire to send them to University. Because it's ending up like only the rich can afford Uni anyhow these days.
Rather than the genuinely bright people.
No wonder this country is going down the pan!

Grrr. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
And I'm falling into the old cliche of "In my day, exams were real exams, and to get an A you had to have studied for 27hrs a day for 6 months previous, and even then you had to undergo medical experiments to increase your memory capacity and intuitive reasoning capability at the price of losing your fashion sense, your long vision, and your hair, and even then that wasn't necessarily enough, so you had to study arcane rituals at the same time in order to summon the Devil to negotiate a suitable deal to get you thro- which often involved self-flagguration. These kids today don't know how EASY they've got it!" =D