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kool4caats

A-levels Getting Easier?

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8211245.stm

Higher percentage of people getting A grades this year, apparently, for the 27th year running. OK so maybe there is a higher standard - In that case the bar should also be set higher and the same percentage of students should be A-grades every year. It means nothing that the percentage keeps increasing. Soon it will be impossible to discern an excellent student from an average one!

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8211245.stm

Higher percentage of people getting A grades this year, apparently, for the 27th year running. OK so maybe there is a higher standard - In that case the bar should also be set higher and the same percentage of students should be A-grades every year. It means nothing that the percentage keeps increasing. Soon it will be impossible to discern an excellent student from an average one!

Already is.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8211245.stm

Higher percentage of people getting A grades this year, apparently, for the 27th year running. OK so maybe there is a higher standard - In that case the bar should also be set higher and the same percentage of students should be A-grades every year. It means nothing that the percentage keeps increasing. Soon it will be impossible to discern an excellent student from an average one!

Its possible to discern exceptional (job) candidates - I've been doing so for 30 years. Exam results alone do not a useful person make. To filter out the worthwhile you need to put in a bit more effort.

An A grade simply says people are above a certain standard. It was never an indication that they could really think. (On occasion I've found that even a first class honours degree did not guarantee the person's ability to think!)

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Guest Skinty
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Are you constantly falling asleep because you're getting older?

You nearly missed a good camera thread earlier if I hadn't woken you up ...

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Are you constantly falling asleep because you're getting older?

You nearly missed a good camera thread earlier if I hadn't woken you up ...

He's given up booze, you see....

Not that this should mean he sleeps more, according to the Mash:

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/health/...s-200908191994/

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the solution is simple, fix the achievable percentages to introduce higher levels of competition.

the top 5% of candidates get A*

the next 10% get As

the next 10% get Bs

the next 10% get Cs

....

In this way candidates have to work harder and harder each years to beat there peers standards get better each year and there is transparency. If you get an A, you know your in the top 15% of candidates, GREAT :) The current system seems like a race to the bottom.

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Guest X-QUORK
Are you constantly falling asleep because you're getting older?

You nearly missed a good camera thread earlier if I hadn't woken you up ...

I apologise, it only seems to happen when cameras or A-levels are mentioned...yawn....zzzzzzzz

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Guest AuntJess
Its possible to discern exceptional (job) candidates - I've been doing so for 30 years. Exam results alone do not a useful person make. To filter out the worthwhile you need to put in a bit more effort.

An A grade simply says people are above a certain standard. It was never an indication that they could really think. (On occasion I've found that even a first class honours degree did not guarantee the person's ability to think!)

Taught and marked for both A level and degree exams, I can say that once upon a time the A levels WERE the gold standard. Now there is some skulduggery with the marking standards with A level. Degrees were never consistent across the country, 'cos they were never standardised. So a student getting a first class honours in one uni. would not necessarily get a first in another...in fact highly unlikely.

For there to be so many passes at A level, grade A -as I heard on't radio this a.m. - suggests a negatively skewed distribution. ie. too many marks at the top end of the range. This pointrs towards an easier exam. The exam questions need to discriminate between the excellent, the good, the average and the mediocre. I am not sure that they do, which means the really academically bright ones get sold short, job-wise and the 'unworthy' A graders get into jobs they can't cope with, hence getting A levels a bad name.

Having so many A grad As tends to go against natural events - such as an increase in IQ - as changes so drastic would not take place over 20 - 30 years. Altho' a change in the gene pool - where the gene pool was 'refreshed' by racial intermarriage - might account for some increase in IQ, but not so much as to make a change from year to year.

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the solution is simple, fix the achievable percentages to introduce higher levels of competition.

the top 5% of candidates get A*

the next 10% get As

the next 10% get Bs

the next 10% get Cs

....

In this way candidates have to work harder and harder each years to beat there peers standards get better each year and there is transparency. If you get an A, you know your in the top 15% of candidates, GREAT :) The current system seems like a race to the bottom.

Whilst I would definitely agree that the current system is both uninformative and ultimately untenable, marking to the curve also has problems as you are then assuming a constant level of intelligence across the years. It is not unlikely that class of 2010 has 5% more high intelligence people than class of 2011, and so on.

There are a couple of ways to deal with this off the top of my head.

First and very labour intensive - mark to the curve, and moderate anyone with in a percent or two of a grade boundary (up or down).

Second, mark as currently, and then moderate all marks equally so that the center of the current mark distribution is a middle C.

Other than that you have to find some way of standardising the difficulty of questions across multiple syllabii and multiple years.

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A-level-news.gif

:lol:

So what weapons do you remember from your schooldays, everybody.

My french teacher's favourite was the blackboard eraser.

History had a nasty habit of poking you with a fork if you didn't sit up straight at mealtime.

Geography favoured a wooden one yard ruler.

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Guest absolutezero

To quote myself.

Let's clear this one up.

The exams are NOT getting any easier at all.

The standard of the questions hasn't changed in the 7 years I've been teaching.

I've been marking GCSE science exams for the last 5.

What has changed is the mark scheme.

I'm now told to accept answers which I say are wrong.

For example, the correct answer of "red light has a longer wavelength than blue light" would get 2 marks,

The incorrect answer "blue light has a longer wavelength than red light" would get 1 mark - even though it is completely wrong.

Why? Because the pupil has said that there is a difference in wavelength.

This didn't happen 5 years ago. It was either 1 mark or no marks.

The questions are the same. The "acceptable" answers are what's changed.

For there to be so many passes at A level, grade A -as I heard on't radio this a.m. - suggests a negatively skewed distribution. ie. too many marks at the top end of the range. This pointrs towards an easier exam.

With the papers I marked this year most got over 50 out of 60.

Not because the questions were easy, but because the mark scheme was too flexible.

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Guest AuntJess
Whilst I would definitely agree that the current system is both uninformative and ultimately untenable, marking to the curve also has problems as you are then assuming a constant level of intelligence across the years. It is not unlikely that class of 2010 has 5% more high intelligence people than class of 2011, and so on.

There are a couple of ways to deal with this off the top of my head.

First and very labour intensive - mark to the curve, and moderate anyone with in a percent or two of a grade boundary (up or down).

Second, mark as currently, and then moderate all marks equally so that the center of the current mark distribution is a middle C.

Other than that you have to find some way of standardising the difficulty of questions across multiple syllabii and multiple years.

Exam setting and marking is fraught with perils, I'll agree, but failing to discriminate and turning out increasing number of A grades undervalues the top -notchers and undermines all manner of endeavours that needs new blood.I can't help feeling that there is method in this madness: Perhaps in getting rid of A levels, some new infinitely inferior method of assessment will have its way paved. It seems to be happening, too.

The exams are getting easier - I think - because more and more of the A syllabus topics are booted UP to the degree level, and so on, so that someone coming out with a degree after three years now, probably knows half the stuff that a graduate of 30 years ago knows, all things being equal.

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according to Today this morning - the kids today are 'cleverer' than 30 years ago. that's us told then :o

Someone better tell Einstein then, and Stephen Hawking

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because more and more of the A syllabus topics are booted UP to the degree level, and so on, so that someone coming out with a degree after three years now, probably knows half the stuff that a graduate of 30 years ago knows, all things being equal.

Thats quite a statement!

Anything to back that up, or just opinion?

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Thats quite a statement!

Anything to back that up, or just opinion?

in the subject I teach at University, we are finding that it is necessary to teach topics that, 10 years ago, we would have been able to rely on the schools having taught. This is not to say that the kids are less intelligent, but you could certainly argue a case that they are less knowledgeable.

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Someone better tell Einstein then, and Stephen Hawking

Show me someone who can tell Einstein and I will happily concede their superior intelligence

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Show me someone who can tell Einstein and I will happily concede their superior intelligence

I expect a recent straight A 18 year old will be able to.

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in the subject I teach at University, we are finding that it is necessary to teach topics that, 10 years ago, we would have been able to rely on the schools having taught. This is not to say that the kids are less intelligent, but you could certainly argue a case that they are less knowledgeable.

Thing is, its difficult to compare isnt it? We are in a different age, with different tools available.

I think kids now know 'different' things from 30 years ago.

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Thing is, its difficult to compare isnt it? We are in a different age, with different tools available.

I think kids now know 'different' things from 30 years ago.

10 years ago, a student coming onto to a Physics course would know either calculus or matrices. It is not unusual that now they know neither.

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Guest absolutezero
10 years ago, a student coming onto to a Physics course would know either calculus or matrices. It is not unusual that now they know neither.

They never taught me matrices 11 years ago when I did my A levels.

They did teach me calculus. In fact the whole A level was pretty much calculus and not much else.

I got really pissed off when I spent the whole of my first year of my degree re-doing my A-levels though despite me getting an A in physics and a B in maths.

Why could they not have started me on year 2?

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10 years ago, a student coming onto to a Physics course would know either calculus or matrices. It is not unusual that now they know neither.

I dont know enough about teaching to have a real opinion, but there often seems to be a bashing of kids 'nowadays' - sometimes I am one of them as I have 3!

I work with a lot of recent graddies - most of whoma are extremely intelligent, but lack the common sense of someone who has 'been about' - and im sure it was ever thus.

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Guest X-QUORK

Eeeee, when I were a kid we'd get ooop three days before we went to bed, walk 48 miles in't hail to work three weeks solid in't pits. For our trouble we were beaten senseless with a cricket bat and sent back 'ome with a flea in't ear.

'appiest days of my life.

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