Thursday, 20 August 2009

Best A level results ever?

A levels results come out today but as I wrote this blog yesterday I have not yet managed to read that results are better than ever. Our children are becoming more brilliant as the years go on. We should all be patting ourselves on the shoulder but we aren't because this improvement brings its own challenges. How do universities decide who gets a place and who doesn't when everyone is getting three or four A grade A levels?

When I took a maths A level in 1979 I was shown previous A level papers and they were much harder. I was given explanations like the syllabus was expanding so the questions could not have such depth. In 1999/2000 I took the equivalent of one and a half maths A levels and I hardly made a mistake. In 1979 my marks were far from perfect. I put it down to very good teaching, my greater maturity and my previous maths A level in 1979. Could there have been a fourth factor and the paper was easier?

If you believe the government and the teachers and we have the best ever results, why is there such emphasis on change in education? I suppose the argument goes that change has occurred and improvements have continued. I prefer the explanation that it is part of the role of politicians to offer alternatives. I wonder what would happen if we let teachers get on with it.

Change the world(?)

1 comment:

  1. The A level results may be "the best ever". I remember seeing an extract from the A level chemistry paper in the early 1990s, and alongside was an almost identical question from the mid 1970s. Not a problem I suppose most people would say, except the 1970s question was from an O level paper, not A level.
    The perhaps better results are because pupils are tending to take more vocational directed A levels than academic ones. When I took my degree, [not that long ago,] there were somewhere between 120 and 160 at the start of the first year, by the end of the third year, ther was around 40-50. The students/pupils are not done any favours by easier A levels, they are not as well motivated to work independently either.