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GCSEs and A levels are biased against arts students - agree or disagree?

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  • View Poll Results: GCSEs and A levels are biased against arts students - agree or disagree?
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    It is more complicated than that (please leave reply in this case)
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    (Original post by S_123)
    GCSE Science misleads people, I reckon. The GCSEs aren't too difficult so people think they'll be fine at A Level but it's very, very different. Whereas if you are good at an Arts subject at GCSE, you'll probably still be good at it at A Level.
    We actually found that a lot of people who were really good at English GCSE weren't so good at English AS Level... and all the ones who did Drama GCSE got Es in the AS Level, whereas I didn't and got a B and the other girl who didn't got a C. Arts subject GCSEs can also be misleading!
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    (Original post by 05sykesd)
    I dont think that there's any arguing that the content of academic subjects is much harder than the arts, and i think this should be reflected in opinion of the subjects, or even going a little further, giving more UCAS points to an A in say physics over the same in art or drama

    I know plenty of people who have taken academic subjects, worked really hard for a place on a uni course, and been beaten to it by someone who has got more UCAS points by doing arts subjects or even vocational subjects such as health and social care. I dont think that giving the same credit to all subjects reflects the ability of the individual and can make for an unfair system.
    I disagree.

    Firstly, the majority of competitive universities, by my understanding anyway, don't actually care about UCAS points and are more interested in actual grades, and generally they have A-Level subject requirements for individual courses anyway, so provided the applicant meets those, how the places are offered after that is surely the universities own prerogative.

    Also, someone studying drama, art and english lit is never going to be competing for university places with someone who wants to be a physicist for example. Then there's that whole thing about different people being good at different subjects, and how the structures of a subject like art in comparison to chemistry is so different that it's hard to compare them accurately at all.

    ANd what courses were these people you know applying for that they managed to work extra hard and still get beaten out by health and social care students? It's all well and good deriding these courses but if a certain university feels that these students are more suitable for the degree then that's up to them.

    The system is far from perfect, but it's not as though a Cambridge applicant with three A* grades will ever be losing out to someone with a BTEC in Hair and Beauty.
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    Got an E in GCSE Art!!Woooo
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    They are against the arts because they are deemed easy.

    Though, drawing and preparing to an A* quality isn't something the average Science student can do. Subjects like Art, Media Studies and English Language are deemed easy so are biased against. But then again it depends on what you're doing... If you want to be an artist/journalist then art is better than Chemistry but...

    Well, the reason I think it's bias against is because the arts industry is quite small whilst things like Economists and Doctors are booming... But that's just my hypotheses. I don't really know.
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    (Original post by slightly)
    I disagree.

    Firstly, the majority of competitive universities, by my understanding anyway, don't actually care about UCAS points and are more interested in actual grades, and generally they have A-Level subject requirements for individual courses anyway, so provided the applicant meets those, how the places are offered after that is surely the universities own prerogative.

    Also, someone studying drama, art and english lit is never going to be competing for university places with someone who wants to be a physicist for example. Then there's that whole thing about different people being good at different subjects, and how the structures of a subject like art in comparison to chemistry is so different that it's hard to compare them accurately at all.

    ANd what courses were these people you know applying for that they managed to work extra hard and still get beaten out by health and social care students? It's all well and good deriding these courses but if a certain university feels that these students are more suitable for the degree then that's up to them.

    The system is far from perfect, but it's not as though a Cambridge applicant with three A* grades will ever be losing out to someone with a BTEC in Hair and Beauty.
    The people who got beaten to courses applied for things like primary education, nursing and courses along similar lines and alot of the universities offering these courses go on UCAS points, meaning that some of my friends who took biology and intended to go into nursing are not being offered places whereas those with triple health and social and drama are getting offers for the same courses at the same places because these yield more ucas points, and instead of having the technical knowledge they are expected to have the people skills and so on to get accepted.

    I understand that different people are good at different subjects (I doubt i would do very well doing an arts subject) but in an academic system, i think that academic subjects should be respected above the alternatives, simply because of the way that they are assessed; an exam in physics will be more in depth and difficult than an exam in health and beauty because it is an academic subject being assessed in an academic way, whereas the health and beauty is a vocational subject and so there isn't much depth to the subject, it is more skills based which cannot be assessed in an academic way.

    Basically, i dont think that different subject areas should be classified in the same way with the same qualifications, as i think this is too sweeping, i am fine with arts subjects being given as much credit as academic ones but in a separate system which assesses in an appropriate way, e.g. a qualification from an art collage (not necessarily an A level) which would be as respected by those in that sector as much as an academic A level is respected in the academic sector, this wouldn't then cause any controversy as it would be like saying that they are equally good but in different ways. Whereas at the minute, it is like saying that they are equally good in the same ways.
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    they're biased in a way that a mcuh higher percentage of students studying maths and science A levels get A*s than students studying History, english, Languages, etc, because getting 100% is down to knowing your facts and theories really well. there are always right answers, there is a formula to getting full marks: know the syllabus. If you think I'm wrong, consider that 20% of A level maths students get A*s, and 30% of A further maths students get A*s, compared to 7% in history and french.
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    My friend got good grades at GCSE(Cs mostly), whereas I got excellent grades (All A*s and As). However, now at A-Level, I am studying Biology, Chemistry and Maths and am on all Cs, and shes studying double art and history and is on 2 As and a C. No offence to her at all cause she is an amazing artist and tries hard in everything she does, but Science and maths A-Levels are so challenging at A-Level it seems compared with other subjects
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    (Original post by I Gurn Hard)
    The arts subjects are almost unforgivably easy. I did mine while high in hospital, overdosing, and got 3A*'s and an A. I'm sick of hearing of everyone doing really well with no effort in arts subjects as having done it myself I realise it means nothing. I really regret not doing the sciences, or at least a quantitative subject such as economics or maths. I think that GCSE's and A levels are biased in FAVOUR of arts subjects, and the thread starter hasn't considered the fact that arts subjects are doable with no revision, preparation or prior knowledge whatsoever, as you can just walk in with a writing ability and walk out with 100% (done by me and a few others), whereas at least with quantitative subjects, some level of knowledge is required to pass (regardless of whether people find it 'easy' or not).
    How could you ace a history exam with no prior knowledge?
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    (Original post by InvisibleGInger)
    How could you ace a history exam with no prior knowledge?
    Okay, I admit I must have had some level of prior knowledge, but I was getting D's, E's and U's in the mock exams. I was literally heading for failure, despite my AS performance, so my grades were a massive shock to say the least.
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    (Original post by KKKKatie)
    I'm pretty sure a vast majority of my GCSE drama and music was devising our own plays/pieces, composing and performance, and all my friends doing art were constantly working on their pieces. Although that was 4 years ago, can't imagine it's changed too much.

    as it was 15 or so years ago and as it has been throughout ... composition and performance underpins Musics, Drama and similar GCSEs , production of new works underpins art / graphics / photography at GCSe

    there is the academic element of analysis etc as to make it a valid academic qualification as opposed to the performance aspects of the doing 'Grades' in music or dance ...
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    (Original post by madders94)
    We actually found that a lot of people who were really good at English GCSE weren't so good at English AS Level... and all the ones who did Drama GCSE got Es in the AS Level, whereas I didn't and got a B and the other girl who didn't got a C. Arts subject GCSEs can also be misleading!
    I guess it just depends then but from what I've seen in my school, all the Arts students who were good at GCSE are also good at A Level. That might be because Science is more popular at my school so if you take an Art you tend to be generally quite good at it anyway :dontknow:
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    I think if someone wants to do the subjects in the arts let them don't look down on them for it.
    Cause that's what their good at.
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    Some good points have been made here.
    Just to clarify, I am not and arts student, I can merely sympathise with them. To all the people saying that sciences are harder at A level compared to GCSE, obviously that is true, and it is the same for arts subjects. That in no way justifies placing more emphasis on science-related subjects.
    So far, I have found science A levels to be not much of a step up from GCSE. Not really relevant to why more people are allowed the best grades in sciences, but I am just arguing against some of the other posts that science students 'deserve' more credibility.
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    (Original post by When you see it...)
    I rarely post in the 'constitutional' politics forum, but felt like I needed to make this thread.
    Students who are good at maths are assured 3 As (or 3 good grades) at A level (maths, further maths, physics) whereas sudents who are good at art aren't even guaranteed 1 (because, correct me if I'm wrong, art is taught and assessed in a way that doesn't really reward interest or aptitude in the subject (not that you can really be 'good' at art)).
    At GCSE, there are 4 'science' subjects (maybe more if you count things like geology or human biology which I believe are taught at GCSE, or even FSMQ) and many other subjects (i.e. Geography) that have overlap with science, whereas at GCSE all arts subjects (I'm not sure about art itself) are taught/assessed by getting students to analyse other art rather than creating their own (i.e. English Literature analysing poems, Drama analysing plays, music analysing other people's compositions etc.) so they may lose their interest in their art form (or maybe even art in general) by being formally taught it.
    The English Baccalaureate requires (at least it encourages) 3 science subjects but no art subjects that require 'creating' (I know that English language always has a small bit of coursework on creative writing but that is just tiny) and the arts subjects that are on there (history/geography, foreign language and english) have some overlap with science (as I already said) in that geography has 'physical geography' which is basically just science with an amplified social aspect and three of the four (english being the exception) having an emphasis on rote learning, which science students will be more comfortable with.
    So what are your opinions?
    In English Language you have to make your own poems/short stories :holmes:

    The English Baccalaureate is just a pathetic government initiative trying to encourage impressionable teenagers to take languages because interest in them has decreased significantly over the years (I blame the **** teachers, that's why I didn't take French) and is very elitist and should therefore be scrapped.
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    I see where you're coming from, but I think it's a problem of the wider education system.

    It also annoys me when people put forward the idea that arts subjects are easier than maths/science based subjects, because that really doesn't appear to be the case. Everybody I know doing Maths/Physics/Chemistry has averaged 80%+ in their first semester of university, whereas on my course (Politics) that's pretty much unheard of, if not impossible.
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    (Original post by tieyourmotherdown)
    I see where you're coming from, but I think it's a problem of the wider education system.

    It also annoys me when people put forward the idea that arts subjects are easier than maths/science based subjects, because that really doesn't appear to be the case. Everybody I know doing Maths/Physics/Chemistry has averaged 80%+ in their first semester of university, whereas on my course (Politics) that's pretty much unheard of, if not impossible.
    That could be to do with the fact that in science/maths, the answers are often either right or wrong, so everyone has the potential to do well, however in more essay writing subjects weather an answer is 'correct' cannot be quantified
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    FINALLY SOMEONE HAS BROUGHT THIS UP!

    English Literature and Geography are two of my A2 subjects. I'm permanently heckled by my friends who take typical sciences (Biology, Chemistry) about how they are doss subjects, and that they are easy to pass. This is not true, and thus I agree that these exams are biased against arts based students.

    It would be funny to make science students sit our exams and see how "easy" they are then
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    I like it when science students are all "English Lit is so easy, all you do is talk about books and poems, I could do that".

    Oh really. So you can analyze the attitudes of the different narrative perspectives towards Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, with particular attention to the different frameworks - lexical choice, phonology, rhetorical effects, figurative language, discourse structure etc etc etc (the list goes on!), AND compare it to a similar thing in another text you've read in an hour and a quarter, and then for the other hour and a quarter, compare two or three UNSEEN texts - usually a poetry, a prose and a non-fiction text - compare them all in terms of the same kind of frameworks, including structure and form, and analyze their attitude and purpose, and that's all ridiculously easy?

    Most of them don't even know what "lexical choice" means. Pshaw.
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    (Original post by tieyourmotherdown)
    I see where you're coming from, but I think it's a problem of the wider education system.

    It also annoys me when people put forward the idea that arts subjects are easier than maths/science based subjects, because that really doesn't appear to be the case. Everybody I know doing Maths/Physics/Chemistry has averaged 80%+ in their first semester of university, whereas on my course (Politics) that's pretty much unheard of, if not impossible.
    What I found at University level is that the standard deviation of results was much higher for science subjects than for arts subjects. For arts, the vast majority of people tend to get 2:1s but very few get firsts, whereas for sciences quite a lot get firsts but quite a lot also get 2:2s.

    I do think the quality of applicant, on average, is higher for science students. I mean, I only got a 2:2 in my first year at Cambridge, even though at GCSEs I had 10A*s and at A-levels my average mark was around 95%. Admittedly, that was partly down to not working that hard but my mate doing history (who worked less hard) still got a 2:1.
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    (Original post by KKKKatie)
    I'm pretty sure a vast majority of my GCSE drama and music was devising our own plays/pieces, composing and performance, and all my friends doing art were constantly working on their pieces. Although that was 4 years ago, can't imagine it's changed too much.
    Yeah my GCSE Music (I took it last year) was mostly my own compositions and performance. There was only one exam at the end (analysing music - cramming was key! I've forgotten it all now though )

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