Owen Barritt (hmmm_tea) wrote,
Owen Barritt

  • Location:
  • Mood:
  • Music:

A Look At The Stars

So, it's A-level results day today and so the news is filled with the usual stories of people arguing grade inflation. Only this year we get it more so as they've just launched the new A* grades.

It's strange that when you hear political discussions about A-levels the vast majority of the time they seem to be about grades and assessment. Is that really the most important thing about them? Surely that bit is stressful enough for students to go through without labouring the point?

It sometimes seems that if we could figure out a way to just do the assessment bit in a meaningful way without any of the awkward learning stuff, the government would jump upon it at a shot. Just imagine it, we could have vast education factories churning out kids with letters by the hundred and offer them as commodities to the universities. Wouldn't that be great?

Judging by the current portrayal by the media, they're not even worthy of consideration as being a qualification in their own right, but instead are more considered as university entrance exams. We then wonder where the incentive to choose alternative non-academically focused qualifications, which will always generally be looked down by the academic directors of the world no matter how good they are.

Somehow we've managed to develop a further education system based solely around the idea of academic competition, but what's competitive about learning to further your own knowledge and skills?

The A-level system seemed fairly antiquated when I took mine just over 10 years ago (part of the reason I very nearly didn't take them). Although there have been reforms since then, they all seem to have just been cosmetic, the qualifications are still essentially the same. Besides however much you change them, they will always have been better "in our day". How else can we continue to feel superior in the face of improving results?

6 years ago a government working group did come up with a proposal to equal the playing field between vocational and academic qualifications, simplify the system and reduce the amount of formal assessment in education for 14-19 year olds. Alas, we cannot have most of the suggestions as laid out in the Tomlinson report and A-levels look to remain the defacto standard for further education.
Tags: education, news, politics, reform

  • News Just In From The Whitehouse

    It appears there's a bit of unrest amongst Whitehouse staff. Here's an interview with one of the President's closest aides: ( Direct Link) (…

  • Introducing More Pointless Pieces of Paper

    Michael Gove wants baccalaureate qualification for England The "English bac" would not replace GCSEs, but would be a certificate to reward pupils…

  • Fulfilling Stereotypes

    So the thought that we might have been able to get away from stories of how Blair hates Brown and vice-versa once neither of them were in power…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.