Anorak News | Testing Times

Testing Times

by | 18th, October 2004

”IF Britain’s Intercity 125 fleet will reach the end of its useful life in 2008 and it will take a decade (and £1bn) to replace, when should we start work on an alternative?’

The 20:08 service to nowhere

Is it a) six years ago; b) now; or c) leave it until 2008 when hopefully it will be somebody else’s problem.

Congratulations to those of you who said c) – after all, this is a question from an A-level politics paper, not maths.

Unfortunately, Roger Ford, technical editor of the Modern Railway magazine, plumps for a) in this morning’s Guardian.

‘This is a horrendously complex issue,’ he says. ‘It’s yet another case where they should have been thinking about it five years ago.’

If ministers weren’t thinking about it, it is because they were thinking about changing the current exam system, replacing A-levels and GCSEs with a new diploma.

According to the Times, as part of the biggest shake-up of qualifications for 60 years former chief schools inspector Mike Tomlinson will recommend that the exams be phased out by 2014.

That coincidentally is about the time that mathematicians estimate that the percentage of students getting all As in their A-levels will reach 100%.

The new diploma, which is expected to be endorsed by the Government, will have four levels of difficulty with the brightest students encouraged to take the hardest courses.

While the Guardian says there will be more emphasis on work-related or vocational courses at 16, the highest level of diploma will be tougher than today’s A-levels and assessed mainly by external exams.

In other words, almost exactly the same system that was abolished along with O-levels some 20 years ago…’

Posted: 18th, October 2004 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink