Saturday, 16 August 2008

A-levels: are they getting easier, or are students getting smarter?

The A-level results for 2008 were published on Thursday and, once again, show that more exams were passed than ever before - with more students achieving grade As.

This seems to be a common occurrence in recent years and instantly provokes comments that exams are getting easier, whilst the poor A-level students are wanting to celebrate their fabulous achievements.

But the question remains: are exams getting easier, or is the teaching and learning that's taking place becoming more effective?

A top Welsh academic last night hit back at A-level critics by saying this year’s exam questions were as hard now as when he sat his exams in 1961. But at the same time it was reported that the Maths department at Warwick University are getting prospective students to sit an extra exam to rate their mathematical ability.

And so the debate rages on. To read what Mary Bousted has to say in the Independent, click here. To read about how the introduction of diplomas as an alternative to A-levels next year will help give students a broader range of skills, click here. And to read about how the A-level pass rate now tops 97%, click here.

What do you think? Are you the parent of an A-level student? Are you a celebrating examinee yourself? Or are you preparing to take A-levels in the next year or so? Whoever you are, why not have your say here?

But, for now, congratulations to everyone who's celebrating exam success this summer.

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