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"Increase in top grades at A-level" does it really mean exams are getting easier? watch

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    (Original post by yawn)
    There will come a time when the results reach a plateau that cannot be improved upon because some students just don't have the innate ability to get beyond a certain point in certain subjects.
    Or because we run out of stars? A******************************* *****
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    (Original post by yawn)
    You glossed over the point about 'criterion' referencing replacing 'norm' referencing, whilst repeating that the percentages of students who get A grades has increased over the last 30 years since it's inception.

    The glaringly obvious reason why so many students 30 years ago did not get A grades was because there was a quota on the awarding of A grades, not that they didn't know their stuff!!

    If you have a cohort of students with results within a few points of each other, and arbitrarily draw a line to cut off at a certain number of points those who can be awarded A grades, then obviously there is going to be a lower number of such grades awarded.

    I have not ignored it, I just don't think it's relevant to waht we are talking about. Obviously with norm-referenced grading, grade inflation wouldn't exist. And frankly, I don't even have a problem with grades getting better, I agree, you would expect it. It is that they are SO SO MUCH better!

    So, I will make these yes/no questions.

    Do you believe the percentage of As awarded has increased 60% in a decade only because the students are so much better now than in 1997 (either by being more intelligent or better prepared)? Do you believe that the same level of work would get the same grade now or in 1987, or 1997?


    Seriously?!
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    (Original post by Howard)
    Or because we run out of stars? A******************************* *****
    lolz
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    I think the biggest contributing factor to "grade inflation" has been the influx of new subjects. Whereas in yesteryear one would have to study a sensible group of proper subjects like Maths, History, English Literature and Chemistry, nowadays a student can do Sports Science, Psychology, Sociology and ICT. The exams have therefore become easier, but probably not so much within individual subjects.
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    I really would be interested to see how many A grades are obtained by subject, and see whether this "easier subjects lead to grade inflation" is merely an urban myth or has any basis in reality.
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    Exams are not getting easier,but the questions and topics that appear in the exam papers are getting more predictable,so its becoming a memory test and not one of understanding and application.
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    well i dont think it is easier although the teachers now seems to limit what they teach. they only teach what comes out in the exam.

    But for a fact, ages ago there was no numerical methods in mathematics, a different subject branch and ever since the availability of the calculator and technology such subjects have been included to the syllabus.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    Do you really think that the proportion of papers graded A has gone up 60% in a decade just because 'teaching is more focussed at passing'? Really?
    It is certainly a big part of it. Whether lamentably or not, teaching is no longer about education, but about training. When you go to school - in particular a private school - you get trained to milk the exam system for all it is worth. Exams are not getting easier in terms of the questions set (though there may be some exceptions to this - Biology has probably become easier). The result is higher grades.

    Harder than you would think actually - how do you rule out the effect of nerves or pressure on candidates? It would be better to have an exam system that was at least fairly capable of picking out the best. Apart from anything else, it is actually unfair to the best students not to give them a way to set themselves apart.
    It's unfortunate that some people have bad nerves, but you have to prepare as best as you can for an interview. A lot of the progress in the interview depends on how well the applicant planned for it, and ensured that they had a lot to talk about in terms of their specific subject. Work experience and so on would be another way of showing that you had the motivation to succeed at uni. But you are right in that it would be fairly difficult to judge somebody's academic prowess from an interview alone.
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    (Original post by Soc)
    I really would be interested to see how many A grades are obtained by subject, and see whether this "easier subjects lead to grade inflation" is merely an urban myth or has any basis in reality.
    That isn't striclty relevant. What's more relevant is what those people would have got if they had taken "conventional" subjects. For example:

    Suppose every subject gets the same number of A grades (say, 20%) and everyone takes only one subject. Conventional Subject A therefore has the same number of A grades as Non-Conventional Subject 1. This would indicate that both are equally hard if people were assigned to subjects randomly, but they aren't. People get to choose, and weaker candidates are more likely to choose non-conventional subjects because they are perceived as being easier. Therefore, if everyone doing Non-Conventional Subject 1 did Conventional Subject A instead, the influx of weaker candidates means that the A grade percentage for Conventional Subject A would be less than 20%, so people were getting better grades under the previous system despite neither subject receiving higher percentages of A grades.
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    (Original post by Collingwood)
    That isn't striclty relevant. What's more relevant is what those people would have got if they had taken "conventional" subjects.
    Not really. I did well at English (tradtional subject) but rubbish at Media (non traditional subject). Depends on the skills one has.

    weaker candidates are more likely to choose non-conventional subjects because they are perceived as being easier.
    Thats the key point - perceived, even if they aren't in reality.
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    (Original post by Howard)
    Or because we run out of stars? A******************************* *****

    lol "Oooh, you are awful but I like you!

    Thought I would dig into the archives of the BBC and throw out a relevant punch-line from a programme of your era.
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    (Original post by Soc)
    I really would be interested to see how many A grades are obtained by subject, and see whether this "easier subjects lead to grade inflation" is merely an urban myth or has any basis in reality.
    The grades of subjects considered easier are apparently far more stable than those of Physical sciences and MFL (Modern Foreign Languages). So it seems that the conjecture is an urban myth.
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    (Original post by Will)
    It is certainly a big part of it. Whether lamentably or not, teaching is no longer about education, but about training. When you go to school - in particular a private school - you get trained to milk the exam system for all it is worth. Exams are not getting easier in terms of the questions set (though there may be some exceptions to this - Biology has probably become easier). The result is higher grades.
    I agree it is a relevant factor. But I simply cannot believe it is that important 60% increase in a decade is, frankly, massive! Teaching hasn't got that much better in a decade, surely?

    And frankly, exams ARE getting easier.

    I did maths, fmaths, physics, history, english to A2, in 2006. Out of those subjects, I think only history has not become easier.

    It is well documented how the maths syllabus was changed to make it easier a few years ago. Physics A2 has become a lot more 'plugging in numbers' and less understanding. English has more and more allowed books to be taken in to exams.

    And this is only where I think the actual questions are easier. Undoubtedly, history is easier now - not because the questions are easier but because it is in 'bite-sized' chunks. For example, at AS there are 2 exams of 45 mins each, where you only do 1 essay. Together they count for 180/600 marks towards A2. The questions are not any easier, but sure as hell it is easier to answer them.



    BUT that isn't even my main point! The point is that the same level of work gets a higher grade now than it would have done in '87 or '97. No one has yet commented on the Durham Uni study showing pupils of equal abilitiy getting on average 2 grades higher than they would have done before.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    English has more and more allowed books to be taken in to exams.
    Which helps very little...
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    (Original post by Soc)
    Not really. I did well at English (tradtional subject) but rubbish at Media (non traditional subject). Depends on the skills one has.
    I'm talking about statistical averages, not a hard and fast rule that applies to everyone.

    Thats the key point - perceived, even if they aren't in reality.
    Yes. It happens to be that I think they actually are, as well. To take just one piece of evidence, why would Cambridge's long list of subjects it doesn't count when making offers be composed entirely of non-conventional subjects if they had just as much worth, on average, as conventional subjects?
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    (Original post by Collingwood)
    I'm talking about statistical averages, not a hard and fast rule that applies to everyone.
    Would you care to provide some of these statistics?

    Yes. It happens to be that I think they actually are, as well. To take just one piece of evidence, why would Cambridge's long list of subjects it doesn't count when making offers be composed entirely of non-conventional subjects if they had just as much worth, on average, as conventional subjects?
    Because Cambridge admission tutors are full of elitist claptrap who have no idea what the modern A level entails? Not everyone does A levels to get into Cambridge, or even university.
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    (Original post by Soc)
    Which helps very little...

    I knew someone would cherrypick the one line in my post that wasn't obvious


    It does help, because people write notes in books and don't have to learn any quotes, just mark where they are.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    It does help, because people write notes in books and don't have to learn any quotes, just mark where they are.
    You can't write long notes because the book gets confiscated, and going through the book looking for quotes wastes valuable time for writing, especially as you don't know what q is going to come up.
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    (Original post by Soc)
    Would you care to provide some of these statistics?
    My statement was a response to your implicit claim that a personal anecdote disproved by entire hypothesis, when in fact my hypothesis was not dependent on every single example following the trend, only the trend existing on average. I wasn't claiming to have collecting said statistical evidence to support my hypothesis, and Im not sure how I would even go about doing this.

    Because Cambridge admission tutors are full of elitist claptrap who have no idea what the modern A level entails? Not everyone does A levels to get into Cambridge, or even university.
    :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Collingwood)
    My statement was a response to your implicit claim that a personal anecdote disproved by entire hypothesis, when in fact my hypothesis was not dependent on every single example following the trend, only the trend existing on average. I wasn't claiming to have collecting said statistical evidence to support my hypothesis, and Im not sure how I would even go about doing this.
    My anecdote was in response to your assertion that non traditional subjects are easier than traditional subjects, for which you provided no evidence.
 
 
 
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