Anorak News | As Easy As ABC

As Easy As ABC

by | 19th, August 2004

‘BENJAMIN Franklin said there were only two things in this world that could be said to be certain in life – death and taxes.

‘Anyone here read? I think it says an A’

To that we can now add a third – a pass at A-level.

The pass rate for the exams rose for the 22nd successive year, with an astonishing 96% of students sitting the exams getting an E grade or better.

And, according to figures published this morning, more people than ever before got A-grades.

That means that, on current forecasts, the pass rate will break through the 100% barrier by the end of the decade, at which time the Government will start to award certificates to people who haven’t even sat the exam.

And in 2013, we should see the abolition of everything other than the A-grade, making Britain the best educated and most highly qualified country on earth.

Predictably, however, there is carping from our newspapers and the Tories.

Tory education spokesman Tim Collins tells the Independent that the rules that allow students to resit A-level modules as many times as they want should be scrapped.

‘Olympic athletes do not get a second or third go at the 100 metres if they don’t like the result,’ he says, ‘and the same logic should apply in education.’

In the Olympics, however, there is only one gold medal. If all the athletes who entered the 100m were guaranteed a gold, then no-one would care how many times they ran the race.

The Telegraph is also predictably grudging in its welcome of the outstanding success of our country’s youth.

It notes the drop in the number of pupils taking traditionally hard subjects like modern languages and science and the rise in the number taking softer subjects, like religious studies, media studies and flower arranging.

And it says the 70% rise in the number of people attaining A and B-grades over the past decade is ‘unparalleled in the history of examining’.

But what of employers?

Digby Jones, director general of the CBI, says the debate about grade inflation is an annual wild goose chase.

‘Employers,’ he tells the Indy, ‘are much more worried by the real education scandal, which is the number of students who come out of the system totally unprepared for today’s world of work.’

Take-up of the new Working Your Butt Off For Bugger All Pay A-level has clearly not been as high as the Government or CBI would have liked.’

Posted: 19th, August 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink