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scary_beast Posted on 17/8 20:04
A levels too easy these days ?

hell yes...

all these A's make it hard to differentiate between the good and the bad.

if everyone gets A's then who will work in Mcdonalds or sweep the streets???

i spoke to a couple of students today and they sounded like they were as thick as two short planks... both got 2 A's amd a B...

unreal....

what do you think???

boro_in_lincoln Posted on 17/8 20:07
re: A levels too easy these days ?

No.

I would like to see some of the people who make these comments take some of the papers I took in June, especially maths.

There's nowt easy about them, and you have to work hard if you want to get good grades.

I presume you've seen some of the papers scary_beast if you're making these comments?

ianson_smoggy Posted on 17/8 20:07
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Nope not that easy at all. Yea put the effort in and really work hard then you'll come outwith the grades you work for.
I only got C C D today, but thats good enough for me uni course.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 20:09
re: A levels too easy these days ?

you should have a go at a maths A level from 20 years ago. have they took of calculus on the maths A level yet?

Billy69_uk Posted on 17/8 20:09
re: A levels too easy these days ?

same as everything else I suppose.

You get back out what you put in.

Unless you are doing a doss subject like

--- Post edited by Billy69_uk on 17/8 20:10 ---

boro_in_lincoln Posted on 17/8 20:13
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Well I got U in maths, admittedly I didn't put any effort into it at all, but the paper was still extremely hard.

To be honest, I don't know if calculus is still in the course. I skived every lesson from January onwards.

Billy69_uk Posted on 17/8 20:15
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I hope calculus is still in there.

If I had to struggle, the yoof of today should have to strugle as well.

scary_beast Posted on 17/8 20:15
re: A levels too easy these days ?

i have a master of science degree and teach A level students from time to time.

i have seen the papers and they are really easy...

ok i have a masters but in my opinon they are far too easy......

how do you get a normal distribution curve if everyone gets A's and B's.

a friend and i took one of the papers last year, we had not even studied the literature and we got over 70%... that is how easy they are....

ianson_smoggy Posted on 17/8 20:15
re: A levels too easy these days ?

yea i could've put more effort in to be honest but the papers and the course are still not pisseasy.

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/8 20:16
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Or maybe people are getting smarter?

We have much more resources available now than we did years ago, with the internet etc, this makes both studying and teaching easier to do.

People are clearly just getting smarter, which is why technology is improving.

capio Posted on 17/8 20:16
re: A levels too easy these days ?

No. Well done to all the youngsters who are study harder than their parents ever did.

piggy_nichol Posted on 17/8 20:19
re: A levels too easy these days ?

There was calculus in the O level syllabus in my day. Purely to test how clever we were I imagine, because I dont think I've used it since.

Revol_Tees Posted on 17/8 20:20
re: A levels too easy these days ?

More people are also running in the London marathon, and finishing faster. Is the marathon getting easier? Er, nope. Same length as always.

Education, for all its faults, is less elitist than it used to be. And some people just can't stand it.

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/8 20:20
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Thats all maths is at GCSE too. Circle theorems in future life? Not likely.

scary_beast Posted on 17/8 20:23
re: A levels too easy these days ?

if an 11 year old can get a maths A level then they are too easy...

enough said...

P.S. i hope his mates, if he has any, give him a chinese burn for being FCKING clever... specky little get...

RedWurzel Posted on 17/8 20:25
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I can't believe young people are twice as clever as they were 20 years ago.

I do think think the teaching has improved in the last 20 years and the support help that is available to young people which must have helped the grades. Young people are picking easier subjects like Media studies than Physics and Further Maths. AS levels are easier than old A levels too and the make up some of the marks. Also is not as exam based and there is the internet to help.

I still say well done to those who get A grades, it might be easier, but its not easy.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 20:28
re: A levels too easy these days ?

if they are getting smarter then why do we keep hearing about employers saying the standard of candidates are crap and graduate standard is poor. I think too many students are opting for easier subject and moving away from the likes of maths,chemistry and physics

alien3 Posted on 17/8 20:34
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Exams full stop are not easy ,but i do think SOME younger people have little or no common sense whatsoever.

scary_beast Posted on 17/8 20:34
re: A levels too easy these days ?

i actually have maths, physics and chemistry A levels... they seemed hard work at the time but they are looking worthless because they are just giving them away these days...

the grades get higher every year...

if the students of this day and age are becoming more intelligent then how come they cannot read, write and the like when they come out of university, let alone school...

the students have absolutely no life skills.. ok an A grade in maths but the cannot wash their own clothes or boil and egg...

am i missing something here?????

Goal_Scrounger Posted on 17/8 20:34
re: A levels too easy these days ?

96.6% of entrants passed this year. Seems rather high does it not?

sasboro Posted on 17/8 20:36
re: A levels too easy these days ?

and whats the point if nearly everyone passes?

piggy_nichol Posted on 17/8 20:37
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I failed General Studies A Level twenty odd years ago, turned up one day late.

That probably accounts for the 3.4% failure rate these days too.

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/8 20:38
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I'm doing english language, english lit, history and classical studies for my a-level, so I dont really fit into those brackets. I'm then doing film studies as an additional thing, don't get a grade but it will be a nice break from the pages and pages of writing i'll be doing for the above subjects.

Just thought I'd let you know I'm not one of the people who are doing the 'easy' A-levels, people seem to be forgetting there are people that are still going for the academic subjects, not the performing arts etc.



--- Post edited by Boro_Owl on 17/8 20:40 ---

green_beret20 Posted on 17/8 20:38
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Yep, like theres going to be a shortage of people with real education in scientific qualifications, like the growing shortage of nuclear engineers.

Probably because the left infiltrated everything in the mid 80's and wanted to remove any eltisim. Apparntly those with high intelligence shouldn't be nurtured with better facilities.

alien3 Posted on 17/8 20:42
re: A levels too easy these days ?

yes scary beast you hit the nail on the head there.They have it on paper but not the commonsense in everyday life.I used to work in a bakery and we used to play practical jokes on the students,like sending them for a long stand or a bucket of steam[all in good fun] .But you know what i mean.

jono_feds Posted on 17/8 20:43
re: A levels too easy these days ?

No teachers are getting better, working harder and under more scrutiny than ever.

7_The_Informer Posted on 17/8 20:45
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Well you can't blame the students, they only get to sit what exams are in front of them but they really are ridiculously easy now. Universities have had to change the length of courses in the traditional subjects (such as Physics) because the entrants know basically nothing when they arrive. By doing this, the universities are trying to redress the balance but it is not enough. An A level now is not worth the paper it is written on and just because some people found them hard work, doesn't mean they are. Again, it is not the students fault, it is the system, from successive governments to the exam boards.

foggonsfplandiet Posted on 17/8 20:46
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Boro Owl - people getting smarter? Have you seen modern GCSE and A level papers? Instructions for your MFI wardrobe are harder.

capio Posted on 17/8 20:46
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Lot's of old giffers who struggled threw exams knocking the good kids again.
We have plenty of youngsters who deserve a kick in the ass with a metal boot, those kids who were out there today picking up exams after working hard, deserve our praise.

Well done kids, keep it up, go to uni if you can, if not work hard and take no notice of these old negative bastads.

jono_feds Posted on 17/8 20:48
re: A levels too easy these days ?

That makes no sense. A Levels tend to be harder relatively compared to a degree. If you don't know something at Uni it's tough you just have to go and find it out rather than be spoon fed!

sasboro Posted on 17/8 20:50
re: A levels too easy these days ?

bring in an "A+" level exam. so the ones who genuinly find A levels far too easy then get the chance to stretch their ability and put their knowledge to the test. why should the naturally really clever students be held back by the rest?

Revol_Tees Posted on 17/8 20:51
re: A levels too easy these days ?

It's quite simple: the old system was rigged because only one in 20 of the population were allowed to fill a set number of university places. Guess which social class they belonged to? It was both unfair and inadequate. Nobody's saying that kids are twice as clever nowadays - if levels of attainment are improving, it's because more kids are taking the exam and a higher proportion of them are better prepared than ever by both their own teachers and by the culture in general. It's like a drilled operation. And if the so-called elite Universities have a problem with this, they should do what they always told everyone else to do: put up or shut up.

scary beast: "i have a master of science degree and teach A level students from time to time."

Can I retract what I just said about preparation by teachers? I pity the poor bastads who were lumbered with you.

--- Post edited by Revol_Tees on 17/8 20:52 ---

glippy Posted on 17/8 20:53
re: A levels too easy these days ?

My son got an A in Physics and B in Maths. He's always had natural ability at these but, although I'm proud as hell, I don't think he had to put in enough hard work to get those sorts of grades. My memory of O Levels etc. is hours and hours of hard work for lower grades than those. Mind you, he takes after his mother.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 20:56
re: A levels too easy these days ?

"It's quite simple: the old system was rigged because only one in 20 of the population were allowed to fill a set number of university places"

so only 5% used to pass A levels or get grades good enough for uni?

capio Posted on 17/8 20:58
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I think the internet and easier access to knowledge these days also helps.

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 21:05
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Revol Tees is absolutely right. And thats true SASboro ..

sasboro Posted on 17/8 21:06
re: A levels too easy these days ?

how, explain. so now 95% of students are good enough to go to uni.

when i did mine nearly 20 years ago,plenty went to uni/poly but it only a certain percentage got a set grade. so then peoples ability was compared with everyone else sitting the exam. Only fair way to judge peoples ability is across everyone who took that exam.
i just dont see the point in exams if everyone passes..its just like doing a training course with a naff certificate at the end which means nowt.

--- Post edited by sasboro on 17/8 21:10 ---

foggonsfplandiet Posted on 17/8 21:07
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Any comparison of GCE and GCSE papers shows conclusively that GCSEs are far easier, sorry but it's true just read and compare them!

Having said that, we didn't half learn some useless information for GCE. What percentage of the population have honestly made use of logarithms, quadratic equations, pythagoras' theorem and algebra in their everyday or working lives? How many have made use of what they learned cutting up a frog or a rat? Or dropping a chunk of potassium in a bath of water?

Revol_Tees Posted on 17/8 21:07
re: A levels too easy these days ?

sasboro - not as many people were even taking A Levels or the equivalent 20 or 30 years ago, a point so obvious I didn't think it needed pointing out. There's been massive culture-change and the cultural elite are enraged. That's what this all about. They can't stand the idea of education being democratised.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 21:13
re: A levels too easy these days ?

sorry i edited my post while you typed. i knew what you were getting at...like i said 20 years ago plenty of people went to poly and the ones a bit more clever went to a uni and that included people who lived in the centre of town. a population of people taking the exam has a normal distribution which has the range of everyones ability and so you have a percentage passing.e.tc its common sense how it works and if fair. clever people get top grade and people at the bottom fail.


how can students be getting clever when things are being removed from the syllabus. surely if they are getting more clever more difficult stuff would get added onto the syllabus.

--- Post edited by sasboro on 17/8 21:16 ---

scary_beast Posted on 17/8 21:15
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Revol_Tees, when i say time to time, i mean every other year or so when i can give the time to prepare, teach and mark papers. i did not mean in a wishy washy kind of way.

i do believe a certain amount of the students try harder but the majority are just having a laugh and causing the lecturers havoc.

technology is improving but does that make the students any more intelligent? i would say no. it is just easier to conduct the lecture using power point etc. but it is the education that matter and not gaining the grade.

students are not getting an education. they are learning how to get good grades in exams.. end of. they have probably forgotte nhalf of what they have learned before the week is out...

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/8 21:15
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Fog, we still do all that, minus the logarithms.

Pythagoras we do 2 years before GCSE actually.

And what are you basing this on? I have past papers from 1996 that I got from school as a study aid. Questions are essentially the same as they were back then. More resources, easier study, therefore increased test scores.

Why would the government make tests easier anyway, what would that achieve?

jono_feds Posted on 17/8 21:17
re: A levels too easy these days ?

It's nothing to do with Exams being easy that more people are going to Uni it's just that you can get in somewhere with alomst any grade. I knew a lad who got in Sundeland with a U and an N!

It's all so Labour look amazing with their low unemployment rates! It's starting to make them look stupid now that everyone has a degree and it's so saturated that it's virtually meaningless!

Revol_Tees Posted on 17/8 21:17
re: A levels too easy these days ?

scary_beast - "students are not getting an education. they are learning how to get good grades in exams"

I think that's a fair enough observation and I'd be inclined to agree with ya - modern students are certainly over-tested and that comes at the detriment of genuine human development - but personally I'd question the extent to which people in this country have ever had a real "education". Of course you learn things, but I reckon in the past it may well have been merely a synonym for "discipline". What I'm getting at is that just because students are intensively trained for exam success, it doesn't mean the exams are getting "easier" in the sense that most people mean it.

--- Post edited by Revol_Tees on 17/8 21:33 ---

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 21:21
re: A levels too easy these days ?

GCSEs effectively replaced the old CSEs and A levels became the new O level ,if you go by percentages passed etc etc... very few people in the 80s even got a pass at O level , I don't remember ANYONE getting an A level,I think if you did you worked at NASA or somewhere ,lol.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 21:27
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I think the fact that everyone has a pc at home helps when studying and although you can't rely on the internet solely, there are some incredible resources out there.

And I never really got the argument that people just learn how to get good grades and not learn everything. You have to learn the subject to get the grades, it's as simple as that. The exam won't cover everything so you HAVE to read around the subject. It's sad really, everyone likes to think it was harder in their day.

janplanner Posted on 17/8 21:33
re: A levels too easy these days ?

if it's true that 18yr olds are so much clever these days, and get better teaching and access to more resources (not that i think all of that is necesarily true), why not make the papers more of a challenge for them, so that they really are a test of their learning and intelligence?

then there wouldn't be any need for nonsense like a* grades, and 96% pass rates.

if the kids really are that much brighter these days, then stretch them, and make them rise to a challenge.

TheYak87 Posted on 17/8 21:34
re: A levels too easy these days ?

A lot of stuff was taken off the A-level maths course the year after I sat it, and I'm glad I didnt sit the easier one. It doesnt really matter though, people who are good at maths do further maths and STEP papers, which are much more challenging in my oppinion.

piggy_nichol Posted on 17/8 21:35
re: A levels too easy these days ?

When I left school you had to get 5 O level passes (Grades a-c, below that was a fail, didnt make any difference if you got a D or an F)to be able to do A levels at 6th Form.

Only about 10% of kids in my school did this. When I read the league tables these days it seems about 75% of kids get 5 A-C GCSE passes. Does this mean that they can all go and do A levels?

And then 96% of those who stick at the 2 year A level course pass? So about 70% of all kids could pass all their A levels if they stay on at school?

Sorry, but they must be easier. No way could 70% of kids in my day pass say, 3 A levels, no matter how good the resources or teaching.

janplanner Posted on 17/8 21:36
re: A levels too easy these days ?

and if that means the failure rate gets back to what it used to be, then tough. life's like that.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 21:39
re: A levels too easy these days ?

pc and internet just means more cut and pasting. do they really understand what they are studying or just really learning it like parrot fashion?

is it true some of the top universities are having to bring in entrance exams to be able to find out who are the best students from the ones who just arnt upto it

--- Post edited by sasboro on 17/8 21:43 ---

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 21:42
re: A levels too easy these days ?

So you get to claim the same qualifications as someone who sat a harder exam? Why is that fair? Seems like bitterness to me. Why should they get punished because the standards of teaching have improved? Why should they have to run with 'rocks in their rucksack'?

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 21:44
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Those of us who left school in the 80s are definately NOT cleverer NOR dumber than todays kids (I failed all my O levels}....i would say intelligence has remained pretty much the same ,theyve just renamed the brand ,like they have with everything else ...its a big friggin con ...like everything else is nowadays.
Government would rather have kids staying on at school than drawing the dole ,plus it gives kids something to aim at/for . School leavers now have more direction , We quite were content to fail our exams because there wasn't really much out there anyway and dossing about on benefits was the done thing. Nowadays thats not so much the case ..so its worked to a point.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 21:45
re: A levels too easy these days ?

sas, no amount of cutting an pasting will pass you a maths exam where you have to show your working. Also, no exam says "for question 2b, write down the whole text from poem blah".

Building on the knowledge of others is an axiom of education and it's not the same as plagiarism. We have to build on knowledge rather than repeat earlier mistakes. FFS, give the kids a break you bitter lot!!!

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 21:47
re: A levels too easy these days ?

ewe_boy, I am sure the cost for a 6th form education place is a lot more than the weekly amount you get on the dole. Also, those better educated kids are more likely to get a job even if isn't in their ideal field because they will have developed a stronger work ethic. It'd be nice for our kids to have a great childhood and education first before being dismissed by the old hands.

janplanner Posted on 17/8 21:47
re: A levels too easy these days ?

it's not about being fair. call the qualificationa different name. but an exam with a ridiculously high pass rate does not test all the people sitting it. so it's not 'fair' on the really bright/hard workers, nor does it pose a challenge.

besides, depending on your point of view, they're already sitting an easier exam and claiming the same quallification.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 21:48
re: A levels too easy these days ?

less people are doing subjects like maths.

Dont think anyone is being bitter,why should we want to be? the point is "A" grade now standard is lower then "A" grade 20-30 years ago and universities are having difficulty trying to distinguish the best from the rest now. Surely that shows the grades are getting easier to get?

chris_white_22 Posted on 17/8 21:49
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Teaching has changes. Students are beaten for not knowing answers anymore, they're nurtured. Rightly or not (tongue in cheek) kids / young adults are encouraged to do their best.

I finished my a-levels in '99. Would say for anyone who reckons there's no use for : -

matrices
algebra
calculus
pythagoras
knowledge of group 1 metals
knowing how to conjugate the verb "aller"

that at 16 you have sod all idea what you want to do - and for many the same goes at the end of a degree (God, same goes for me now, and I'm almos drawing my pension at 25!), but for many those things will be important! I still use a lot of a-level maths in what I do...and I'm not really in a maths based role (ok, analyst...quite numerical!). It's about being able to apply yourself, understand concepts and see how they fit with problems.
It's about learning to learn. If I can't understand how to calculate the height of a tree, given a distance and an angle, there's no way I could fathom the more complex things that happen in the office.

GCSEs / A-levels are NOT easy, and they ARE relevant.

Congrats to all...and to those who didn't do as well, perhaps you're the next Richard Branson!

piggy_nichol Posted on 17/8 21:50
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I dont think that this is a new thing. When I've talked to my Dad about the stuff he had to learn at school in the 1940's it seemed harder than the stuff I did in the 1970's. He is definitely clever than me, but there was never a possibility that he might go to university. He had to do HNC's etc at night school.

I think I'm a fair bit clever than my own kids, but there's every chance that they could go to University and get degrees in the present climate. What does it all mean though? If 50% of kids have a degree, what are they worth?

Not as much as in my day, and certainly not as much as in my Dads.

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 21:52
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Neil , thats where you are quite wrong about the expense of further education !
Education will always be cheaper as it saves on other anti social costs ,you dont think we used to just sit in and play battleships all day do you ?

foggonsfplandiet Posted on 17/8 22:00
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Owl: "Why would the government make tests easier anyway, what would that achieve?" Answer:

"Hi, my name is Tony Blair and if you elect me I'm going to concentrate on EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION. Judge me by my results."

By the way, many educational institutions are paid on the percentage of people who achieve passes and at higher grades. No incentive for artifically increasing grades there, then.

Perhaps Maths wasn't a good example to choose; compare Geography papers and English Language (where incorrect spellings and even txtspk have even been enough to get people a pass!).

Answer this: Why are so many universities and businesses hopping mad that they have to spend time teaching people with GCSEs and A levels how to use basic english?

Revol_Tees Posted on 17/8 22:01
re: A levels too easy these days ?

janplanner and sasboro, I see the system has done a cracking job on you both.

"it's not about being fair."

That just about sums it up. When people are inculcated with that mentality, what hope is there? I thought the point of education was to enhance mutual understanding and nurture human potential, but thanks for reminding me that it's really nothing more than a race to the top for the "naturally gifted".

Maybe we should double the length of the Great North Run while we're at it, to stop more people taking part and prevent people from running it faster.

It's all a competition, after all.

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 22:04
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Firms should give everyone common sense tests to start with anyway ! Some right dopey fookers work at head office where i send my work !

chris_white_22 Posted on 17/8 22:04
re: A levels too easy these days ?

foggonsfplandiet - I know of one place teaching people with a law degree how to use English on the LPC, and it's one of the best places in the country to do one!

If only ppl learned to speek gooder English like wot I do.

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/8 22:10
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Answer this: Why are so many universities and businesses hopping mad that they have to spend time teaching people with GCSEs and A levels how to use basic english?

Because a foreigner can pass maths but not english language for the obvious reasons?

And which university would this be then?

--- Post edited by Boro_Owl on 17/8 22:11 ---

YearbyRed Posted on 17/8 22:12
re: A levels too easy these days ?

What I can't understand is that when I was at sixth form you could study for a maximum of 3 A levels with another A level available in the form of General Studies which was just an exam.

Now Students are getting 6 A levels. They don't work any longer hours so they must study each subject for a shorter length of time.

The only explanation can be that the final exams are easier.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:14
re: A levels too easy these days ?

ewe_boy, not sure if you missed my point there. Education is more expensive than being on the dole. I was just debunking the idea that people going into education is only done for the government to save money. So if you are saying being on the dole is more expensive due to associated anti-social costs then ok, I'll accept that. It still supports the idea that education is better for society.

Jan, exams are there to establish if someone knows a subject and to what level. They are not punishments nor are they there to trip smart-asres up. Tests are about proving your knowledge of a subject to a certain degree, not about jumping through hoops and rights of passage.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 22:14
re: A levels too easy these days ?

exams are there to test people and stretch their ability and not to allow everyone to pass. Why hold back the naturally gifted brainy people so that the rest can get a certificate to say they spent 2 years on a course about something?

"It's all a competition, after all."

exactly! you are competiting to get into a university or get a decent job with other people. Surely universities and employees want to employ people with the best ability for the job? or are not exams really meant for that?life is competitive if you want to get somewhere or do something in your life. how can employers and universities select the best they can if everyone passes easily?how do you explain why some uni's are introducing entrance exams?

its an exam not an apprentiship

if you are comparing athletics to exams, then noo matter how fast the time is you still get 1st,2nd or 3rd..etc, also the weather conditions may affect the running times just as an exam might be easier. but you still have placings in the race and not have everyone finishing 1st cos some one last year did in a slower time

--- Post edited by sasboro on 17/8 22:19 ---

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/8 22:16
re: A levels too easy these days ?

6 A-Levels? Regualar student gets 3 a-levels, one AS and the general studies one. 6 A-levels would have to be done in spare time at most schools, and would only be done by the insanely gifted.

Most students still do what you did Yearby.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:17
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Yearby, you were doing really well until you made a massive leap with no justification in-between:

"The only explanation can be that the final exams are easier."

How is it the ONLY explanation? Have you not considered that more is based on coursework than an end of year exam? Assessment is done throughout the course rather than crammed at the end.

piggy_nichol Posted on 17/8 22:18
re: A levels too easy these days ?

And on a related note, you dont have a test at the end of your cycling proficiency these days.

Everyone who attends the course gets a certificate of attendance instead.

Bah, country's going to the dogs because we dont want anyone ever to fail.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:20
re: A levels too easy these days ?

"exams are there to test people and stretch their ability"

No sas, they are not, they are there to grade knowledge of a subject. What is the point of studying a subject then someone sticks something in the exam you haven't studied? Yeah it stretches you but it doesn't tell you anything about how well they know the subject they studied for the last two years.

EDUCATION is there to test people and stretch their ability. There's a fundamental difference.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:21
re: A levels too easy these days ?

piggy, how many training course have you been on that actually have a pass/fail? (I mean vocational here). Is it not best to deliver training and correct as the course goes than to spout it all out, wait until the last day and say "sorry son, you are crp on your bike, you've failed. Now cycle home, eh?"

sasboro Posted on 17/8 22:22
re: A levels too easy these days ?

wrong again neil. go speak to a top uni and top employees and see what they think of A level exams. the clever people are being held back which is having a knock on effect on uni

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/8 22:24
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Exams are the test of the students abilitys.

--- Post edited by Boro_Owl on 17/8 22:37 ---

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 22:27
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Neil , I would be the first to agree with you, that schooling is better for society at large than signing on ,but what i find amazing is that no body has sussed the general farce that is the education system ?
OK ,red brick uni's ,worth their weight in gold .
But where are all these A levels and degrees leading to ..there are the same number of professional jobs as there ever was ...
I took a job 3 years back and was working alongside 20-24 yr olds who had passed 4 or 5 A levels and some had attended Uni ...now,don't get me wrong ..Im not advocating that everyone should sit on their arse and fail everything put in front of them ,but it says something when i can casually walk into a job working alongside all these 'luminaries'

piggy_nichol Posted on 17/8 22:27
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Neil, I've done quite a few training course with an exam of sorts at the end. I dont think I've ever seen anyone fail, including on one occasion some polish labourers who spoke virtually no english.

I've never really felt any sense of achievement after passing them though. I reckon if a kid cant weave between the cones without going headfirst over the handlebars, he should be told to come back and try again until he can.

When he does it successfully give him his badge and say "well done", it will mean a lot more to him then.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 22:28
re: A levels too easy these days ?

year old, but worth a read

Link: .

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:29
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Perhaps those 'top' employers should interview and select their candidates properly? Education is about learning. Educated people have a better chance of getting a job but a-levels are not there to make employers decisions for them.

Boro_owl, sorry could you expand on that, I am not sure if I follow?

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 22:31
re: A levels too easy these days ?

That reminds me piggy < when are they gonna have a proper driving test ...for all ages ?
Driving standards are abysmal ...too many people taking the test who arent cut out for the open road !
You wouldnt employ a carpenter to do your plumbing ,so why let all and sundry on the highway !

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:32
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Interesting SAS but it seems to just say that uni's have to use methods other than just a-levels to gauge suitability. So do employers now.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 22:33
re: A levels too easy these days ?

and how would they test them if you have lots of applications? in an exam type environment?. the way things are going our degrees are going to be worht as much as a degree in USA. I know some employes for some careers now instist on a masters.

they have to use other methods because too many people are gettin g top grades and they cant spot the really clever ones. so why not have a harder section on the exam to find out who these students are?

--- Post edited by sasboro on 17/8 22:35 ---

YearbyRed Posted on 17/8 22:33
re: A levels too easy these days ?

In my day it was only exceptional students who got 3 A levels and general studies - especially at A grade. Hardly anyone I went to college with got straight A's.

Neil - maybe more is assessed during the year (Only English was based on continuous assessment when I was at College) however I still believe that final exams are easier.

My niece gained 4 A levels today (3 C's and 1 D) - she was really surprised at her grades as she admitted doing no revision and getting her course work done by her cleverer younger sister.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:33
re: A levels too easy these days ?

"Driving standards are abysmal"

Jesus christ! Why don't you go and read up on the driving test and see what is entailed now. There is far more to passing a driving test now. FFS.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:34
re: A levels too easy these days ?

No sas, with an entrance interview prior to accepting their application. Then if they get the grades, let them in.

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 22:35
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Neil ,if i was being brutally honest..I would say while you need a certain degree of intelligence to pass even todays exams the whole idea of exams generally is to seperate the workers from the workshy . And they work for that reason !

piggy_nichol Posted on 17/8 22:35
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Oddly enough I tend to think the other way on driving. It seems to be harder than in my day, with a theory test as well.

Although I dont know the pass rates.

Dont they have to park between two parked cars and know how to change a cam shaft of something?

Respect where its due.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:35
re: A levels too easy these days ?

"getting her course work done by her cleverer younger sister."

Well congratulations to her clever younger sister then! There's always been cheats!

sasboro Posted on 17/8 22:36
re: A levels too easy these days ?

but thats a lot of people to interview before hand, do they have the resource to be able to do that?

I dont agree with coursework assessment for quite a few subjects either, people can work together and a bright student can get another student a higher mark. which is not their level and i calss as cheating

--- Post edited by sasboro on 17/8 22:38 ---

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 22:37
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I would have thought that without a masters your'e fooked anyway .

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/8 22:38
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Yearby, hardly anybody gets straight A's now.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:38
re: A levels too easy these days ?

"whole idea of exams generally is to seperate the workers from the workshy"

Well, yes and no for me. You have to give people credit for even doing the course and passing it. It does filter out a certain type of person who can't be bothered. But that's not completely what it is about in my opinion, it's about education and learning how to use your own initiative to learn. Someone might do a study on yaks in Tibet and that is pretty useless, but actually having the drive to commit and see something through is a valuable quality.

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 22:39
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Neil and Piggy , I did say for all ages . And a re-test at 35

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:42
re: A levels too easy these days ?

sas, if the top uni's want the top people they have to work for it too. Also, just a note on your point about coursework, I accept that some people will benefit from being with a smarter student but a: teamwork is something you have to be able to do in the 'real world' and b:you shouldn't feel greedy about knowledge. It's not yours to keep!

piggy_nichol Posted on 17/8 22:44
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Sorry, I know I shouldnt say this but I love the idea of Jan and Sas putting forward the same argument.

Its like that Howard and Hilda couple off Ever Decreasing Circles.

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:44
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Well, it's been a lively debate. I'd like to thank the right honourable sasboro, piggy_nichol, ewe_boy and boro_owl for attending and contributing so vigorously. You're all a credit to the education system! I'll need to sleep tonight so I think I'll wind-down now and sign-off this thread.

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 22:45
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Yep ,tend to agree with you again Neil ,but remember the curriculum was never really much about knowledge ,more to do with comprehending /understanding ideas and summarising information.
Opinions can fail you though ! It's all part of a wider, do as we tell you to !

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:45
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Aye piggy, two become one, eh?

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:46
re: A levels too easy these days ?

ton

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:46
re: A levels too easy these days ?

up!

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 22:46
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Sleep well NT

neiltrodden Posted on 17/8 22:47
re: A levels too easy these days ?

*slump*

sasboro Posted on 17/8 22:50
re: A levels too easy these days ?

piggy_nichol, first thing i've ever agreed on something with. another one to tick of the list. i even agreed with scoea once To many people on here are trying to fight the system, but lik eit or not the world is a competitive place..its human nature

Revol_Tees Posted on 17/8 22:51
re: A levels too easy these days ?

What needs to be understood is the extent to which exams are a tool of classification and hierarchy - they've never been a good indicator of how well someone will perform in a job or even (as recent studies have shown) at University. It's just a filter. You can be trained to pass exams regardless of "natural intelligence", which was traditionally the case (unless you really believe the middle classes are more naturally gifted than the proles). Historically, the masses simply could't attain the best "training" (i.e. teaching, facilities, opportunities, circumstances etc.) required of them. They could simply be filtered out by the examination system, leaving the field wide open for the wealthy minority to progress. But the democratisation of learning which has taken place in the last 20-30 years has gradually eroded the privelage afforded to the elite and that is what this is all about.

Interesting figures:

1965 - 370,000 entries - 69% pass rate
2004 - 766,000 entries - 96% pass rate

Not surprising in the slightest. It's a great achievement that so much dormant potential, previously excluded from the system altogether, has finally been released. Shame on the elitist class warriors at the Times and the Daily Mail for being so bitter about it.

sasboro Posted on 17/8 22:58
re: A levels too easy these days ?

population of 100,000 taking the same exam standard of 700,000 population, should produce the same wide rang of abilities and produce a normal distribution very similar and therefore you can take slices at same percentiles to find the same level of ability for both populations. ie same percentage should pass and fail no matter how hardf or easy the exam is

--- Post edited by sasboro on 17/8 22:59 ---

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 23:04
re: A levels too easy these days ?

The system still sucks Revol !

YearbyRed Posted on 17/8 23:09
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Boro_Owl - Todays Evening Gazette shows 99% pass rate at Egglescliffe school with 54% getting A's and B's. St Marys college is listed with 11 students getting 3 or more A grades. Prior Pursglove is listed with 10 students getting 5 A's. Hardly that rare is it?

Revol_Tees Posted on 17/8 23:18
re: A levels too easy these days ?

sasboro - that's not the case at all. These aren't two random samples, so why should the percentages be the same? Those 100,000 were a small minority from a very specific socio-economic location in the 1960s, probably all from very similar families, schools and backgrounds. The 700,000 in 2004 were much more representative of the general population, came from a multitude of socio-economic locations, and when you open up the system to EVERYONE - not just a small group of rich kids from middle class suburbs in the South East* - a 25% increase in the pass rate isn't surprising at all, particularly across the time scale involved.


*NB. not all of them obviously, but class does has everything to do with this and always has done.

--- Post edited by Revol_Tees on 17/8 23:27 ---

Boro_Owl Posted on 17/8 23:19
re: A levels too easy these days ?

How many students at each school?

Also, a pass in anything above a U, a pass grade could be anything between a G and an A.

--- Post edited by Boro_Owl on 17/8 23:21 ---

ewe_boy Posted on 17/8 23:27
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Stone me ,Is this thread still running ?

--- Post edited by ewe_boy on 17/8 23:28 ---

Revol_Tees Posted on 17/8 23:29
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Well I've said my lot now, and I'm leaving it wide open. But I predict 150+ if this thing gets spotted tomorrow morning

YearbyRed Posted on 17/8 23:34
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Revol - a 25 % increase in the pass rate isn't surprising at all when the exams are easier .

Boro_ Owl - Doesn't say how many students at each college however I just picked 2 colleges at random and found 21 students with 3 or more A's. Just pointing out this seems a large figure and certainly more than 'hardly anyone' as you suggested.

--- Post edited by YearbyRed on 17/8 23:35 ---

Towell Posted on 18/8 0:08
re: A levels too easy these days ?

They must be getting easier, I got ABB in Physics Maths and Chemistry last year and i didn't really work hard.
Uni on the other hand.
Doing Chemical Engineering and it's friggin solid.

scary_beast Posted on 18/8 6:51
re: A levels too easy these days ?

morning all...

any students with bad heads this morning after celebrating getting 23 A*s ???

well i wouldn't have even bothered as they are going to be worthless in a year or two...

but well done anyway...

zaphod Posted on 18/8 8:03
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I think there are some misconceptions about education in the 1960s on this thread. It was more meritocratic than class-based and the system of selection by exam worked better for the working classes than the present system of selection by place of residence (i.e. the best state schools tend to be in wealthy middle-class areas). The Wilson Government required Oxford and Cambridge to meet targets for admissions of working class students. My school (Sir William Turner's in Redcar) used this to get an average of 8 kids p.a. into Oxbridge. Obviously the middle classes used their money to get better educations in private schools for their kids, but that's no different from now.

The 1960s system was strongly selective and acted as a filter, as it was meant to. The country could only afford a certain number of University places and the filter was intended to ensure those places went to those most able to benefit. Employers didn't do further testing because of the effectiveness of the filter. The present system is pretty ineffective as a filter (because that is no longer its purpose), so employers don't know what the qualifications are worth.

The students can only do the courses open to them, and it's not their fault that A Levels (and even some first degrees) carry so little weight with employers. The kids are the victims in all this: they (including my kids) work hard to get their A Levels (much better grades than mine), but in the real world they're worth very little.

sasboro Posted on 18/8 8:22
re: A levels too easy these days ?

we dont have to look as far back as the 60's, just look back at the mid 80's. Thats when i left school and college and everyone had the opportunity to do O level GCE's if they were clever enough and then go onto A levels if clever enough. in those days it was recommended that you only do A level maths if you got A or B at O level. Agree less opportunity in the 60's but mid 80's everyone had opportunities to go to uni if they were clever enough. so the 2 populations are very similar sample. I went to a normal comprehensive school in middlesbrough and everyone got opportunities to go to Uni whether they were from the town centre,acklam,coulby newham. I dont remember students getting hand picked to do A levels depending on what area they lived in.

back in 1985 only 70% passed an A level now its 96%. It seems that the younger people on here (18-22ish) are the ones who are saying that the exams arent getitng easier but the standard getting higher. But surely if more people are getting nearly 90-100% then exams are getting easier?

in the end its a shame the naturally clever ones are being held back by the rest so everyone can pass the exam. Universities will tell you the standards are slipping and some employees insist on masters now. in accountancy exams does 96% pass or is it a set percentage?

zaphod Posted on 18/8 8:39
re: A levels too easy these days ?

sasboro, the apparent dichotomy could be explained by having tougher exams these days, combined with more generous marking schemes.

zaphod Posted on 18/8 8:40
re: A levels too easy these days ?

But you don't get more marks for duplications!

--- Post edited by zaphod on 18/8 8:41 ---

sasboro Posted on 18/8 8:50
re: A levels too easy these days ?

going on your comments on the 60's, my mum was brought up on a council estate and passed the 11+ exams so went to a grammer school. so in some cases the opportunity was there for some people even from a poor background. When i was at school they used to have students split into different maths and english classes. typically it woul dbe top class for the clever ones, then middle lot then the lower lot who did CSE's. do they still seperate people out in to groups or is it all mixed up now?

zaphod Posted on 18/8 9:23
re: A levels too easy these days ?

sasboro, I did the same as your mum. I admit it, I'm old! The grammar schools were great for one of my sisters and myself; they were a real career launch pad.

The 1960s secondary moderns were often appalling, though, and something needed to be done about them. Typically for 1970s Labour, the answer was to sacrifice excellence on the altar of equality, instead of improving the sub-standard.

Turner_86 Posted on 18/8 9:33
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I did F**K all at college and passed, I'm also doing F**K all at Uni and passing, it is far far too easy to get qualifications these days, I wish they were harder as they would test my ability more.

mickbrown Posted on 18/8 9:36
re: A levels too easy these days ?

The long and short of it is, the exam boards are letting more people pass. If I could be arsed I'd let you know how the boundaries are decided on, but it is dead complicated and some of the young uns on here would struggle to keep up.

Capybara Posted on 18/8 9:50
re: A levels too easy these days ?

'Probably because the left infiltrated everything in the mid 80's (sic) and wanted to remove any eltisim'

You mean when we had the Thatcher government. It was the Thatcher government which removed the system whereby only the brightest and hardest-working got the top grades. I'm not saying that was entirely wrong and there is something to be said for having absolute rather than relative grading but to say it was a tool of the Left is total nonsense. I honestly don't know whether exams are easier or harder these days but when I see statements like those above about calculus I do wonder. We started calculus in the fourth form. That'll be Year somethingorother these days.

--- Post edited by Capybara on 18/8 9:51 ---

janplanner Posted on 18/8 9:51
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Revol_Tees, i replied; 'it's not about being fair', in responce to neiltrodden who said; 'So you get to claim the same qualifications as someone who sat a harder exam? Why is that fair?' i was not inferring that education shouldn't give a fair opportunity to all wanting to take part.

the point of a levels is not to have a fair comparison between different ages of people. a levels as i understand them, are an opportunity for further learning, and a measure of intelligence and application for universities and employers. a 96% pass rate does not fulfull this. an a grade at 70% and an a grade at 99% get the same mark, that doesn't reflect effort or inteligence.

there should be competition for the best university places, opportunities etc, life is competitive. pretending it's not, in education, isn't exactly a preparation for the real world.

SophieBoro Posted on 18/8 10:08
re: A levels too easy these days ?

"the point of a levels is not to have a fair comparison between different ages of people. a levels as i understand them, are an opportunity for further learning, and a measure of intelligence and application for universities and employers. a 96% pass rate does not fulfull this. an a grade at 70% and an a grade at 99% get the same mark, that doesn't reflect effort or inteligence.

there should be competition for the best university places, opportunities etc, life is competitive. pretending it's not, in education, isn't exactly a preparation for the real world."

I sat my a-levels this year, and whilst I get really frustrated with the whole 'alevels are easy' argument (as I've worked ridiculously hard) I do agree with Jan's point about the A grades - maybe something like they have at GCSE level would be better to distinguish between the good marks and the top marks, as it can be a little frustrating when you gain full marks in an exam and get the same grade as someone who got 70-80%.

However, it must be taken into consideration that the percentage to get an A changes depending on the subject; in some I required a much lower overall mark to recieve an A (sociology) while others (history and english) were graded much more harshly.

blotonthelandscape Posted on 18/8 10:16
re: A levels too easy these days ?

'No teachers are getting better, working harder and under more scrutiny than ever.'

Could not agree more.

We employ lots of people under 23, on the whole they have good literacy and mathmatical skills, far more confident than I ever was, and understand the needs of their roles very quickly.

zaphod Posted on 18/8 10:19
re: A levels too easy these days ?

I agree that it doesn't matter if an A Level grade means different things for people of different ages. Once you're at University or in a job, your A Level grades become irrelevant quite quickly. They're important at the time but really are just a stepping stone which you leave behind.

scary_beast Posted on 18/8 20:35
re: A levels too easy these days ?

i certainly agree that they are just a key to a door. once you're through the door it is more hard work if you are at uni...

drink, drugs, and sex... really hard work....

lucky fookers

stampysdog Posted on 18/8 22:19
re: A levels too easy these days ?

Getting grades AAB in Maths, Further Maths and Business studies certainly wasn't easy, but I can imagine it being easier than it would've been many years ago. Especially after having looked at some of the specimen papers from previous years.

Seth_Plum Posted on 18/8 22:46
you might find this helpful

A-Levels nowadays are marked out of 600
The grade boundaries are
A-480
B-420
C-360
D-300
E-240
under 180 is 'Ungraded'
For the 'half' A-level...i.e. AS level, you halve the marks.
You can make up in the secon year for doing badly in the first...and even re-take some of the first year 'units'. There are three 'units' in the first year, and three in the second....not all necessarily worth 100 marks each.