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Bruce Banner

97% A Level Pass Rate

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The other problem with the A-Level stats now is that the dumb kids get kicked off which distorts the figures even more.

So if you fail to get a C in the first year you don't get to do the 2nd in that subject. Basically only the kids capable of passing are doing the exams.

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The other problem with the A-Level stats now is that the dumb kids get kicked off which distorts the figures even more.

So if you fail to get a C in the first year you don't get to do the 2nd in that subject. Basically only the kids capable of passing are doing the exams.

My lad will be allowed to carry on, even if he gets rubbish grades after his first year. The school rather likes the money...

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My lad will be allowed to carry on, even if he gets rubbish grades after his first year. The school rather likes the money...

Not the case at the state college my son goes too, if you want to continue doing maths, science you need to get a C.

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When people complain about so many students "passing" their exams, it mainly just shows their age. Yes, the proportion of U or N grades is pretty low, but C/D/E in an A-level exam is not exactly a great intellectual achievement either. Presumably universities and employers have figured this out.

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When people complain about so many students "passing" their exams, it mainly just shows their age. Yes, the proportion of U or N grades is pretty low, but C/D/E in an A-level exam is not exactly a great intellectual achievement either. Presumably universities and employers have figured this out.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for us to parse out the good students. Something like two thirds now get a B or an A. Long term research into maths performance of british undergrads on day one of their degree (tested via an exam constructed to test ability) shows that students achieving a B now are roughly equivalent in maths capability to students who achieved an N 15 years ago.

We now have a lot of foundation type courses to try to bring the undergrads up to scratch to start their degrees.

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It is becoming increasingly difficult for us to parse out the good students. Something like two thirds now get a B or an A. Long term research into maths performance of british undergrads on day one of their degree (tested via an exam constructed to test ability) shows that students achieving a B now are roughly equivalent in maths capability to students who achieved an N 15 years ago.

We now have a lot of foundation type courses to try to bring the undergrads up to scratch to start their degrees.

If you say so.

I tutor A-level students on the side (my main job is lab-based research in a university) and am often surprised by the difficulty of the material they are expected to grasp. Sanger sequencing is part of A-level Biology now, for example.

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If you say so.

Sanger sequencing is part of A-level Biology now, for example.

A levels have always kept pace with technology and this doesn't mean they are any harder or easier than in the past.

It is a combination of the quality of teaching, the questioning, how the test is structured, the help you have on hand in the exam, and the contribution of assessed course work that will influence results*

Edited to add: *and many other social influences

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If you say so.

I tutor A-level students on the side (my main job is lab-based research in a university) and am often surprised by the difficulty of the material they are expected to grasp. Sanger sequencing is part of A-level Biology now, for example.

Look at the research of for instance Prof. Duncan Lawson at Coventry university who has been doing a longitudinal study on undergrad fresher maths competency versus a-level grade.

Certainly my own experience as an academic in a STEM subject is that more and more of the first year intake seem to require ever more remedial teaching. This is not in any way to say that they are not as clever - they generally pick things up very quickly - they simply haven't covered the ground you would have expected them to have done.

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The answer to this annual debate is to bring back the old method of having PERCENTAGES of people awarded grades, not NUMBERS.

So for example, the top 5% get an A, the next 10% get a B etc etc...

For sure, the'd be some years where someone with more intellect gets a lower grade because the overall standard was higher, but employers very quickly work out which are 'good' and 'bad' years.. and so someone with an A in a 'thick year' will get passed over for a B kid from a 'clever' year

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The answer to this annual debate is to bring back the old method of having PERCENTAGES of people awarded grades, not NUMBERS.

So for example, the top 5% get an A, the next 10% get a B etc etc...

+1

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It is a combination of the quality of teaching, the questioning, how the test is structured, the help you have on hand in the exam, and the contribution of assessed course work that will influence results

And altering the way exams are marked might have something to do with it.

A-levels 'now two grades easier than 20 years ago'

Also....

A-levels ARE getting easier admits Brown's new maths adviser

The respected academic appointed to overhaul maths teaching in schools has admitted A-levels are getting easier.

Sir Peter Williams, chosen by Gordon Brown last week to advise on reforming lessons, acknowledged standards had been slipping for many years.

His remarks are an embarrassment to education ministers who have derided what they called the 'standards are falling lobby' as driven by 'emotion and prejudice'.

Sir Peter said: 'Over 20 or 30 years, I don't think there is any doubt whatsoever that absolute A-level standards have fallen.

'They have edged south, continuously over a long period of time. I think all university academics and a good proportion of sixth-form teachers would agree with my assertion.'

He said there was a widely held perception that A-levels in general were getting easier but in his specialism of maths and physics this was a 'testable fact'. Sir Peter, who chairs the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education, said comparisons of past A-levels with current papers showed that students today face equations requiring less knowledge and understanding.

LINK

Either teaching methods are getting better, children are more intelligent or exam standards are being allowed to deteriorate.

Now which one of those options is [a] the easiest and the cheapest (so as to appeal to politicians, academics and other incompetents*).

I disagree with Sir Peter Williams, I don't think many university academics or sixth-form teachers would agree that standards have fallen. They have what we call on HPC a "VI".

* I work in the field of academic publishing and quite frankly I'm amazed some of them can tie their shoelaces by themselves.

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The answer to this annual debate is to bring back the old method of having PERCENTAGES of people awarded grades, not NUMBERS.

So for example, the top 5% get an A, the next 10% get a B etc etc...

For sure, the'd be some years where someone with more intellect gets a lower grade because the overall standard was higher, but employers very quickly work out which are 'good' and 'bad' years.. and so someone with an A in a 'thick year' will get passed over for a B kid from a 'clever' year

Sounds too discriminatory to me. If you had that sort of system you'd be able to tell who's smart and who isn't.

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I disagree with Sir Peter Williams, I don't think many university academics or sixth-form teachers would agree that standards have fallen. They have what we call on HPC a "VI".

You are wrong. I'm an academic. I can't think of a single colleague who wouldn't agree that standards have fallen considerably. It's us putting in the extra hours trying to remediate the bloody mess.

* I work in the field of academic publishing and quite frankly I'm amazed some of them can tie their shoelaces by themselves.

:lol: pot, meet kettle.

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Look at the research of for instance Prof. Duncan Lawson at Coventry university who has been doing a longitudinal study on undergrad fresher maths competency versus a-level grade.

Certainly my own experience as an academic in a STEM subject is that more and more of the first year intake seem to require ever more remedial teaching. This is not in any way to say that they are not as clever - they generally pick things up very quickly - they simply haven't covered the ground you would have expected them to have done.

I would agree with this.

As we load in current topics at A-level the fundamental underlying basics are squeezed out. However, the good students at all levels are as good as ever, and it is they that succeed through competition.

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I would agree with this.

As we load in current topics at A-level the fundamental underlying basics are squeezed out. However, the good students at all levels are as good as ever, and it is they that succeed through competition.

It's getting increasingly difficult to detect the good ones though. "A*" is basically roughly equivalent to A and the top half of B in old money, and "A" to the bottom half of B and C. "B" in new money is a low C down to an N. So therefore rely on interviews perhaps? Only we have fewer staff per student and thus higher workloads than ever, combined with increased numbers of applications so even giving applicants anything more than a cursory interview is becoming hard.

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* I work in the field of academic publishing and quite frankly I'm amazed some of them can tie their shoelaces by themselves.

I knew an Oxford academic who couldn't tie his shoe laces.

He was brilliant in his field, so the university looked after him by providing accommodation, made sure he remembered to eat, cleaned his room, washed his clothes etc. Really nice guy, sadly now deceased, but totally incapable of functioning in the real world.

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It's getting increasingly difficult to detect the good ones though. "A*" is basically roughly equivalent to A and the top half of B in old money, and "A" to the bottom half of B and C. "B" in new money is a low C down to an N. So therefore rely on interviews perhaps? Only we have fewer staff per student and thus higher workloads than ever, combined with increased numbers of applications so even giving applicants anything more than a cursory interview is becoming hard.

I have a feeling student numbers will fall, no bad thing for the young people, perhaps not so good for the enlarged tertiary sector that has been built upon increased student numbers.

I get really frustrated about touting 'a degree equates to £100K more over your working life' and that University is 'the thing', and I am an academic.

Maybe now a degree does equate to £100K extra earnings, but in 20 years time when we have persuaded everyone to be a graduate ?

Yes, it is good to be better educated and while that can be through University, for many it could be through workplace learning, which is just as valid. Unfortunately, there are few vacancies in the workplace although there are plenty if you become self-employed.

Anyway, I am drifting OT

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The answer to this annual debate is to bring back the old method of having PERCENTAGES of people awarded grades, not NUMBERS.

So for example, the top 5% get an A, the next 10% get a B etc etc...

Agreed, I have no idea why this isn't being done already.

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Agreed, I have no idea why this isn't being done already.

Because it's retarded?

:)

If pretty much anyone can do a job, why not let them?

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Your mark should depend upon how well you've done, not on how others did.

The main function of A-levels is to compare your performance to others of the same age for university entrance purposes. Awarding nearly a third of papers an A or A* does not fulfil that function.

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Because it's retarded?

:)

If pretty much anyone can do a job, why not let them?

Just to be clear, you genuinely believe that students' academic abilities are increasing, and this is what the increase in top grades is recording?

I'm not saying you're wrong, but I don't think either of us has any evidence other than A-level results to support that claim. With only one data series, we can't know whether students are getting brighter, exams are getting easier, both or neither.

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  • 337 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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