Trying to decide what to blog about is more difficult than I thought… I’m one of those people who is interested in pretty much everything in some way, so there will be a lot of genre-hopping throughout this blog.
The first topic of conversation, seeing as I’m a student, will be exams- which is quite fitting considering the time I’m spending writing this blog is procrastinating from A-level revision.
At the moment the news is full of contradictory stories about exams, especially GCSEs; on one hand, thousands of students are failing to achieve satisfactory results in the “traditional” subjects (I’ll come back to that at another time), but on the other hand, people are scoring handfuls of A and A* grades. This seems counter-intuitive, more so because both scenarios are happening at the same time, in the same schools.
It also creates problems for pupils, as they are surrounded by media reports, parents and teachers saying how easy their exams are. This isn’t beneficial for any student; those who did badly will be even more demoralised by education, leading to them being less willing or able to continue to higher education. For students who did well, any sense of success they had at scoring 80/90%+ will be instantly devalued. This puts students into a no-win situation.
For students who are willing or able to go on to A-levels, a similar situation will arise. August 2010’s A-level results showed a 97.6% pass rate, increasing for the 28th year in a row. While this figure does attract criticism, surely a high pass rate is what should be happening?
The logical progression should be:
i) student who performs averagely or well at GCSE decides they want/need to do A-levels
ii) students chooses their subjects and college or sixth form
iii) government trains teachers to be able to teach that subject to interested students
iv) teachers pass knowledge on to students, so they can perform well in the exams
v) students pass exams, with a good knowledge of their subjects
vi) students use that knowledge and their qualifications to go into further study or work, contribute to the economy, everybody wins.
This means the high rate of passes is logically coming from students being more motivated than they were at GCSE, along with good teachers, well-designed exams, and less subjects than at GCSE. If this is the case, why is it a problem?
If this isn’t the case, it means something has gone wrong, and I don’t think students deserve to have their success made meaningless by how the government and teaching boards have designed and implemented their exams.