14 Aug '14

News What teachers dont tell you A-level results wont determine your future | John Crace

A-level grades have dipped. So what? Theyve fallen because the system has been changed, and in any case exams should never define who you areA-level results day. Cue hundreds of photos of teenage girls leaping in the air and some ritual angst about what it all really means. In recent years, the focus has been on A-level grades improving. Are the exams getting easier, the children cleverer or the teaching better? This year the goalposts have shifted in the other direction with grades having fallen slightly. Have the exams have got harder, the children stupider and the teaching worse? As it happens, its just that the rules have changed to prevent students resitting modules in January to improve their scores. But even if there werent a simple explanation for the slight decline, would it really be much of a disaster?Im not sure that the indifference my parents and I showed to my own A-level results back in 1974 is whats called for. Back then we returned from holiday to find my results card mixed in with all the other post on the hall floor. My mum picked it up and said, Youve got 2 Bs and a C. I think I then said, Oh. Thats about what I expected. Does that mean youve got into university? she asked. I think so, I said, and that was about the end of it. There were no great fanfares: no cheers, no tears, no ringing my friends to find out what they had got. It didnt seem that urgent. But there has to be some middle ground between that and the current fetishisation whereby students are made to feel that their whole future depends on the grades they get. Continue reading...

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