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    (Original post by shady lane)
    Cumulative grading is a better indicator of someone's performance in school, because those kids who simply are amazing at studying for exams will have to consistently perform. And it is much less stressful!
    At Cambridge we have practicals every week that count for something, but the majority of our marks come from exams, and I think this is the best way. It allows you to have lots of fun for most of the year, with some work, but if you don't work at all you can still make it up in the exams. And if you're not so great at exams, then your prac mark will pull you up somewhat.

    I loved A levels. So easy and fun. Spent the whole year doing f all then worked in May and June.
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    (Original post by Lauren)
    At Cambridge we have practicals every week that count for something, but the majority of our marks come from exams, and I think this is the best way. It allows you to have lots of fun for most of the year, with some work, but if you don't work at all you can still make it up in the exams. And if you're not so great at exams, then your prac mark will pull you up somewhat.

    I loved A levels. So easy and fun. Spent the whole year doing f all then worked in May and June.

    So this is the famed UK education system...party and drink, then study for a few months and congrats, a great degree?!

    I know in movies and on TV you see US college students drunk all the time and partying like mad. Well, that's on the weekends. The rest of the week, students at top unis are in classes, writing papers, studying for midterms, all while often leading a student group, playing a varsity sport, or working a part-time job. The people who are drunk all the time and don't work until final exam time will get bad grades, period. And they deserve to.

    Getting good grades my junior and senior years in high school required me working all year long to get into a good university, not doing "f all" until May. I really don't how that is a better system of education. It's OK if that's how it is in the UK, I would have loved it if I could have just sat on my ass most of the year and still gotten into a top uni based solely on my ability to read books. But you should still see that it is not a very good way of finding out who is actually smart.
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    Thats very insulting to the many alevel students who have consistently worked hard over the last 2 years
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    (Original post by esx77)
    Thats very insulting to the many alevel students who have consistently worked hard over the last 2 years
    I think Lauren saying A levels were fun and easy is what you should be insulted by. I don't even live in the UK; you can write off whatever I say as my being misinformed.

    But she is basically laughing her Cambridge spot on the faces of those poor students who studied like maniacs (like my cousins) who did not get into Oxbridge.
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    perhaps lauren is a genius
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    Did anyone see that piece on SKY News where they found 4 students who all got A grades for A Level Maths today. They were then asked to sit a maths paper from 1987.
    1 student got an E. the other 3 got U's! Bet those guys regretted taking part in that experiment.
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    (Original post by RMIM)
    Did anyone see that piece on SKY News where they found 4 students who all got A grades for A Level Maths today. They were then asked to sit a maths paper from 1987.
    1 student got an E. the other 3 got U's! Bet those guy's regretted taking part in that experiment.
    And they had no time to prepare? Perhaps the experiment wasn't amazing!
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    (Original post by RobbieC)
    And they had no time to prepare? Perhaps the experiment wasn't amazing!
    the '87 paper wouldn't test the same syllabus anyway.
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    (Original post by RobbieC)
    And they had no time to prepare? Perhaps the experiment wasn't amazing!
    I'm not suggesting this is proof exams are easier.

    If a person gets an A in Biology and is made to sit a 1987 Electronics paper and that person gets a U, it means nothing - they are different subjects.

    Perhaps a 2005 Maths paper is a lot different than a 1987 Maths papers, not necessarily much harder. Even so - maths is pretty much maths, no? You would have expected at least a low B grade from one of them?
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    (Original post by Jump)
    the '87 paper wouldn't test the same syllabus anyway.
    Shame on Sky News misleading people that way.
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    Not at all. If the syllabus is completely different I would expect a U. That's what I would have got... Now if they had given a student equal time to prepare for a modern and old style paper, that would be slightly more telling.
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    (Original post by RobbieC)
    Not at all. If the syllabus is completely different I would expect a U. That's what I would have got... Now if they had given a student equal time to prepare for a modern and old style paper, that would be slightly more telling.
    True.
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    Back in 1987 the pure maths papers were made completely of pure maths (more comparable to P1-P6 instead of potentially P1-3 with some untested knowledge of mechanics and stats) and were probably all synoptic (as far as I know) and so someone doing further maths would probably do alright, just as the standard A-grade mathematician from today would get better results in M1, M2 and S1 (for example) than a 1987 pure maths student. Noone who studies P1-3 could be expected to do well in a test that requires knowledge on hyperbolic functions, complex numbers and complicated calculus.

    A-levels are not easy. Getting an E in an A-level is very easy but getting consistently good module scores is not. With a system where you can get 480/600 or 600/600 and be regarded the same is wrong. It is hard to get good A-grades in all subjects. If in addition to your grade universities could find out your overall UMS mark or individual module UMS marks then this would differentiate between the good and the best really well. There is a hell of a difference between getting good marks (-90) in three AS modules and then getting low Bs in the harder modules and someone who scores 96/100 or so in all six modules.

    With regards to the Sun cartoon a few pages back, the average Sun reader does not really have any right to mock A-levels for being easy... (awaits anti-snob flames)
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    (Original post by Alewhey)
    Of course A-levels are getting easier. Anyone who thinks that we are just getting smarter is just kidding themselves. Has anyone seen a paper from 20 years ago? Last year my school was teaching physics out of an old O-level textbook, and there were things in there that were way beyond what we were learning!

    I understand that lots of people on this forum worked very hard, and most will probably get A's for their effort. But this is exactly the point! It should not be possible to get the top grade at A-level by virtue of effort alone. A grades should be reserved for people who are both hard-working and very clever (and possibly the lazy genii), in my opinion. Without wanting to offend anyone, let me point out that the people who really deserve A's are exactly the people who would be upset that A levels are getting easier...

    As for having being tested from day 1 - this was introduced to make A-levels easier, not harder. Now you can cram for a few weeks, ace the exam, and forgeddaboutit. Screw up? Just try again. And again. And again...
    Having taken further maths, this was particuarly obvious to me. Three of the modules (P4-6) were pretty much unrelated so I got into the habit of learning one, doing the exam, and then forgetting the content whilst learning the next one. Compare that with learning them over the course of two years and then recalling them all together, in perhaps just two or three more intense and longer exams, and you can appreciate how much easier we have it. And come on - AS's are still a doss...

    What we must remember is that by making A-levels harder, there are no losers. The very best stand out from the crowd, instead of being lost in a sea of A's. The slightly less talented may start getting B's, but university offers will adjust accordingly so there is no problem here. A-levels start getting the respect they deserve again, so there would be no stigma for getting a B or any lower grade in any case.

    As a final point, I would like to add that either Oxford of Cambridge (I forget which) did some studies to find out which are the best indicators of success at university and found that GCSEs are far better predictors than A-levels, presumably because the sheer amount of them means you cannot get all A/A*s without being pretty smart, regardless of the hours you put in. When A-levels stop being predictors of university success, you know something has gone badly wrong.
    Phew, someone at last talking sense! You've probably saved me a fair amount of writing.


    (Original post by cottonmouth)
    It makes me FUME WITH RAGE when they go on about this.i would love to see them sit the a levels i sat and then call them easy.
    there are a multitude of reasons for why more "pass" these days. retaking, better, more focsed teaching, with targets, modules etc.
    Yes, there are indeed a multitude of reasons why more pass these days. I take it by 'more focused teaching' you mean 'not teaching students subjects in their own right, but teaching students specific information they need to get good marks in their exams'?. The exploitation of mark schemes and very specific syllabii (among other things) has resulted in students being taught with only 1 purpose: to pass exams. Is this what teaching and learning should be about? I personally don't think so. So, inevitably, teaching students to pass exams well will mean better results. But, is this the sole reason for the results being better? I'll leave that up to you- you may want to look at an A-level maths of physics paper from 1987, or consider the introduction of such subjects as 'media studies', to help you decide...

    So anyway, back to your point- you get angry when people have a go at A-levels and call them easy. I think most people are saying they are easier; there is a difference. Anyhoo, then you go on to say the reasons for the better results are retakes, teaching (as I've talked about) and bite-size modules. But clearly, these are ways of making A-levels easier to do well in!!! You've made two contradicting points!


    (Original post by Aeana)
    I am frankly really annoyed with the people who keep saying things like that. They obviously have no idea how much hardwork, blood, sweat and tears into passing these exams. They're hard enough to pass as it is without people running around and telling us that they're easy, we didn't need to work for them. Let's see them sit them and we'll be the judge of how well they do.
    As Alewhey said, it's not all about hard work, and it shouldn't be. A's should be for hard working AND very bright people. Some people may call it brutal, but it's a basic fact: while it's important to recognise hard work, it is also important to recognise those who are truly something special. You can't just lump these two groups of people into the same category (ie and A grade) for fear of upsetting the not-so-bright hard workers. Personally I see it as political correctness typical of this Labour government, the whole mentality of it pisses me off. Not everyone can be a winner. Not everyone deserves a prize. Och, that was a bit harsh, but it gets the point across at least.
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    Ok, it is an undeniable fact that they are getting easier (look at the dumbing down of maths next year for evidence of this, they are removing a module and spreading less work over the six) but it is an important point that they are not *too* easy (as of now, I don't know if everyone will get As in maths next year) and the UMS scores especially will still sort the men from the boys.

    I would welcome more options like further maths for the sciences especially. I think it is wrong that a physics A-level ignores maths completely. It would be nice if there was a harder physics A-level, "physics for mathematicians" or something for the more able.
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    I think the problem is that you get an A at 80% grade boundary... there are high A's and low A's.. shy dont they just device something else like dividing A's into three parts i.e: A-, A, and A+ that should give a better comparison
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    A-Levels aren't "easy" or "too easy" by any means but if there's one thing that I agree with it's that there needs to be more distinction using a normal syllabus between someone who gets a low A and a high A. I don't think I did enough work through the year of the last couple of years, but before my exams I worked pretty hard and came out with AAAB. Also, although I made use of it once myself, I don't think the re-take system is right. I don't think someone should be given 2 or 3 bites of the same cherry. The one biggest difference is probably that there is a lot more exam-directed teaching nowadays. The basic skeleton of the exam and mark scheme doesn't vary each year and we're taught based on that. My brother did his A-levels 6 years ago and his knowledge of Chemistry is far broader and not just based around what he had to memorise for the exams. I've seen his notes and work he still has and I'd say it's a lot more intense than mine from last year. I'd also argue that the AEB (which became Edexcel?) Exams are easier than the edexcel ones I've just done but ofcourse there will be differences in the chemistry we were taught. I think a professor got it right yesterday when he suggested that we (2005 students) are far better at exams but in terms of broad knowledge of the topic, it's greater in students of 5, 10, 15 years ago.

    All that said though, an A is a big achievment and a reflection of the hard work and effort put in over the last 2 years and don't get down on what others say.
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    (Original post by nasht)
    I think the problem is that you get an A at 80% grade boundary... there are high A's and low A's.. shy dont they just device something else like dividing A's into three parts i.e: A-, A, and A+ that should give a better comparison
    Why not just re-design the grade boundaries and call it A, B and C?
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    (Original post by cottonmouth)
    It makes me FUME WITH RAGE when they go on about this.i would love to see them sit the a levels i sat and then call them easy.
    there are a multitude of reasons for why more "pass" these days.retaking, better, more focsed teaching, with targets, modules etc.
    but, unwittingly, you've just become as bad as them.

    you fume with rage when they say your exams are easy but your immediate reaction is that you doubt their ability to pass your exam.

    get over it and yourself.
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    So what's new about issues surrounding 'A' levels? Thirty years ago schools used to enter different people for different examination boards as some boards were perceived as 'easier' than others. I repeat, 'A' levels are not easier than they were, they're just different. Congratulations to you all - don't let the furore stop you enjoying your success.
 
 
 
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