Objections to A* at A-Level

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fishpaste
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#21
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I think if you are going to change the system like this you *HAVE* to give people full and proper warning. People usually take strategies towards their alevels, and it's not fair to say "oops, you would have the highest grade, but we just introduced the A*" or "oops, you would have an A but we just changed the boundaries" or "oops you would have an A, but we're not longer using letters so you have an 81."
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crana
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#22
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(Original post by fishpaste)
I think if you are going to change the system like this you *HAVE* to give people full and proper warning. People usually take strategies towards their alevels, and it's not fair to say "oops, you would have the highest grade, but we just introduced the A*" or "oops, you would have an A but we just changed the boundaries" or "oops you would have an A, but we're not longer using letters so you have an 81."
i agree
for example im doing 5 alevels, 2 aeas, and now i dont really need to do well in the summer in chemistry thanks to spare marks from other modules and coursework already taken...i need to get around 52% in the summer modules to get an A, i think.. so obviously Im going to prioritise my other subjects over chemistry to fill my offer conditions. I should get an A (I hope!) but it won't be a high one by any means. however if it was going to be A*s or that all your marks counted etc, I'd try harder in it.

since im going to do a course with a large chemistry component at uni, i can't afford to ignore it altogether though.. so I am goinfg to learn the important bits and do no work for food science module, whic really is a joke.

rosie
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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#23
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(Original post by crana)
it would be a pain in the arse if they brought it in after we have got our alevels, as then an "A" that was the highest you could get at the time won't look as good as an "A*".
No this isn't a big deal... A*s were introduced in GCSEs in 1994, people who took GCSEs earlier weren't disadvantaged, as it was known that they weren't available, and usually you'd be applying for universities, jobs etc in the same age group intake.

Why for every AS/A2 grade there's a 10 percentage point bracket (eg B 70-79), except A which is 20?

I think something else that is needed, more for university than A-Levels, is a greater focus on percentages. There's a huge difference between getting 60% or 69%, whether that's a C at A-Level, or a 2:1 at uni.
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not1
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#24
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(Original post by Fluffy)
I guess the fact that in 5 years time nearly 60% of the population will get them at A-Level, making them as meaningless as the current A grade?
Don't rubbish people's achievements.
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crana
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#25
(Original post by Jools)
No this isn't a big deal... A*s were introduced in GCSEs in 1994, people who took GCSEs earlier weren't disadvantaged, as it was known that they weren't available, and usually you'd be applying for universities, jobs etc in the same age group intake.

Why for every AS/A2 grade there's a 10 percentage point bracket (eg B 70-79), except A which is 20?

I think something else that is needed, more for university than A-Levels, is a greater focus on percentages. There's a huge difference between getting 60% or 69%, whether that's a C at A-Level, or a 2:1 at uni.
i don't really expect most employers to carefully note the year you took your GCSEs/a levels and compare them to the exact date A*s were introduced, and so on. why on earth would you be applyng for jobs with ppeople of your own exact age....?

rosie
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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#26
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(Original post by Pencil Queen)
Tell me you posted that by mistake because it's complete and utter balls
Roughly the same age group - all internships I've applied for have been penultimate year students, which are 90% of the time 19-21. Graduate milkrounds, people applying are typically 20-23. Oh yeah mature students, d'oh... anyway the actual point is that people aren't that disadvantaged if they did A-Levels and got AAA before A*s came into place; evident from people getting straight As in GCSEs before 1994.
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jumahumour
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#27
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Why would anyone object to an A* at A-level. It is in major need of reform at the moment as too many students are obtaining A grades when they are not actually 'A grade students'
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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#28
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(Original post by crana)
i don't really expect most employers to carefully note the year you took your GCSEs/a levels and compare them to the exact date A*s were introduced, and so on.
The Human Resources department will know everything - the year A*s were introduced, the year AS-Levels were introduced, etc.
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crana
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(Original post by Jools)
Roughly the same age group - all internships I've applied for have been penultimate year students, which are 90% of the time 19-21. Graduate milkrounds, people applying are typically 20-23. Oh yeah mature students, d'oh... anyway the actual point is that people aren't that disadvantaged if they did A-Levels and got AAA before A*s came into place; evident from people getting straight As in GCSEs before 1994.
applying for internships and applying for general jobs really are quite different.

rosie
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crana
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(Original post by Jools)
The Human Resources department will know everything - the year A*s were introduced, the year AS-Levels were introduced, etc.
have you ever considered that many employers don't HAVE a human resources department.......
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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#31
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#31
(Original post by jumahumour)
Why would anyone object to an A* at A-level. It is in major need of reform at the moment as too many students are obtaining A grades when they are not actually 'A grade students'
Try telling that to 'A grade students' who're scraping 80%!

I remember what someone told me when I was saying A*s at GCSE were now no longer a challenge for the best students... just that across the country A*s make up 5-10% of grades, and it's a tiny minority compared to the numbers getting Grade Cs, Es etc... still I think it's important for institutions (whether universities or employers) that need the very very best to be able to differentiate - entrance exams?

The "There should be A*s at A-Level" thread was huge on AUA a couple of years ago.
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not1
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#32
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An A* at A Level is a bad idea. It would reward (to an even greater extent than now) rote memorisation for exams, and stifles educational freedom/creativity. It would be of most benefit to public school students who have the resources to study for the highest level; at least in the current system the highest grade is achieveable by everyone.
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crana
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(Original post by edders)
An A* at A Level is a bad idea. It would reward (to an even greater extent than now) rote memorisation for exams, and stifles educational freedom/creativity. It would be of most benefit to public school students who have the resources to study for the highest level; at least in the current system the highest grade is achieveable by everyone.
so following that logic, would it be a good idea to scrap tha A altogether and make the highest grade possible a B?

After all, that's even more achieveable by everyone

rosie
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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#34
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(Original post by Pencil Queen)
Yup for my current (graduate level) job the applicants ages ranged from 22 (me) to 52 - with pretty much every half decade in between covered.
OK OK... but my original point still stands!! You're not disadvantaged by having As before A*s were introduced... you can always have a small line in your CV saying "NB: A*s were introduced the next year" or whatever.
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crana
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#35
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(Original post by Jools)
OK OK... but my original point still stands!! You're not disadvantaged by having As before A*s were introduced... you can always have a small line in your CV saying "NB: A*s were introduced the next year" or whatever.
that does look a bit crap though. if the employer knew that they may well feel patronised by it, i think. it would be much easier just to do a whole new scale - then they are obviously different.

or, just go by UMS which is what i think is better.
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Kalypso
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#36
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I don't think the ability to score a high percentage at A level is necessarily indentically equal to the 'best' student.

I also think that between the ages of 16-18, and in fact also both pre-A level and post A level, people need to learn how to be well-rounded individuals and not just learn how to be a walking CV.
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James_W
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#37
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The whole thing about A*'s is that it simply focuses on the highest achievers without any consideration for the average Joe taking A Levels (I think the national average grades are usually around the D/E grade?) - introducing the A* is like introducing an extra hurdle for everyone else that achieves below it and could, to some extent, invalidate the success of achieving a B (for example) because the candidate could have gone 2 better instead of just 1.

It definitely just focuses on the select few instead of the majority of people which is why I disagree with it.
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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#38
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(Original post by crana)
or, just go by UMS which is what i think is better.
Agreed. Still think maybe grades are good too, for (trivial) problems eg

"What did you get?" "3 Bs!"
vs "What did you get?" "476, 451 and 429!"
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crana
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(Original post by Jools)
Agreed. Still think maybe grades are good too, for (trivial) problems eg

"What did you get?" "3 Bs!"
vs "What did you get?" "476, 451 and 429!"
good point
people could say their grades in the 100s they got

what did you get?

3 400s

would piss off anyone that got 499, but it seems top be that anyone who just missed a grade at A-level always says "I got a B- but i was 2 marks off an A" anyway

rosie
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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#40
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American GPA style could be good - a single number eg 4.0, 3.4...
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