Wednesday, 21 July 2010


I've been working in my office all day today finalising a Report and had the radio on in the background for company. Occasionally one of the programme discussions grabs my attention and today it was all about exam standards. In particular the huge amount of "A" grades achieved at GCSE. I have long been convinced that GCSE passes are far easier than the old "O" levels. My children were just at the end of the "O" level era and I know from the content of the exam papers they worked on compared with the GCSE papers that my nephews and nieces took that they had a much easier time achieving high grades. Recently I have tried to learn Spanish [not wanting to be staying in Spain and expecting everyone to understand English] and I think I am progressing very slowly. Much to my amazement when we were given a GCSE paper just as a class test I passed. I could not believe the simplicity of the questions, I know that there is no way I could possible pass an "O" level in Spanish. Who does this dumbing down benefit? It is like the thinking that everyone should go to University whether they are academically able or not. Uni is not right for everyone and when so many graduates cannot find jobs and the workplace is short of plumbers, electricians etc.[who by the way earn very good money] why do we persist with this policy.

OK - that was a rant, which I suppose now qualifies me as a grumpy old woman!

1 comment:

  1. I think the idea is to be as inclusive as possible, to widen the net so as not to miss latent talent. This does work (I tutor/lecture on a university access course and every year at least one student shows signs of brilliance) but it means there is a huge drop out rate at universities, usually in the first semester. I don't see this as a problem, though, a semester lasts three months, those who find university is not for them will have learnt something about themselves and can go on to become plumbers or whatever suits them best. So I don't see it as dumbing down, I see it as a well meaning attempt not to exclude those who would benefit.