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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 Soc)
    Would you care to provide some of these statistics?


    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.

    Bull****.

    Anyway you wanted stats:

    http://www.jcq.org.uk/attachments/pu...0Protected.pdf
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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.

    'Easier subjects' (by which i think you mean media studies etc) have a much lower rate of A grade passes than the average (see above post).


    Which means that the rate of grade inflation in traditional subjects is far higher than even the 60% in a decade figure I've been quoting.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    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?!
    According to schools minister, Jim Knight overall entries at A-level had risen by 8% in the last decade.

    Figures from the boards showed 25.3% of exams were graded A, up from 24.1% last year. In 1997 only 15.7% of all A-level scripts were A grades. That is an increase of 9.6%, so I am curious where you get your figure of 60%from. :confused:

    *The pass rate has been rising for the 25th consecutive year – that’s since 1982, even before norm referencing was abandoned in favour of criterion referencing.

    As I said before, it is the harder subjects which are subject to the biggest jump in grade inflation. This is borne out by figures which showed nearly three in five entrants to further maths get A grades. Only 14% of entrants got grade A in media, film and TV studies.

    So yes, it seems that the brightest have got much brighter!
    *And there is an article in today’s Times explaining why kids have higher IQ’s now than they did 20-30 years ago.

    Have a look for yourself – it’s interesting reading.
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    (Original post by Soc)
    My anecdote was in response to your assertion that non traditional subjects are easier than traditional subjects, for which you provided no evidence.
    Your anecdote isn't evidence of anything. It may be that you simply didnt work as hard for Media Studies as for English, or you were more tired on the exam day, or one of many other factors that are nothing to do with the difficulty of the subject matter. That's why actual scientific studies proceed on the basis of statistical correlations derived from large populations rather than individual anecdotes.
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    (Original post by yawn)
    According to schools minister, Jim Knight overall entries at A-level had risen by 8% in the last decade.

    Figures from the boards showed 25.3% of exams were graded A, up from 24.1% last year. In 1997 only 15.7% of all A-level scripts were A grades. That is an increase of 9.6%, so I am curious where you get your figure of 60%from. :confused:
    I thought you said you teach?

    Change in A grades given out = (25.3%-15.7%)/(15.7%) x 100% = 60%

    The amount of A grades given out has increased by 60%.


    Obviously the percentage point increase is a stupid statistics that tells you nothing, if you think about it.



    *The pass rate has been rising for the 25th consecutive year – that’s since 1982, even before norm referencing was abandoned in favour of criterion referencing.
    Ok


    As I said before, it is the harder subjects which are subject to the biggest jump in grade inflation. This is borne out by figures which showed nearly three in five entrants to further maths get A grades. Only 14% of entrants got grade A in media, film and TV studies.
    I agree, I have said as much in my previous post.


    So yes, it seems that the brightest have got much brighter!
    *And there is an article in today’s Times explaining why kids have higher IQ’s now than they did 20-30 years ago.

    Have a look for yourself – it’s interesting reading.
    Are they THAT MUCH brighter? The Flynn effect counts for about 3 IQ points a decade, and is very controversial.

    The fact remains that children with the same IQ do much better now (in terms of grade received) than before - I repeat, Durham Uni have just done a study on it and found that with the same IQ, a candidate now on average would get a grade 2 GRADES HIGHER than before. In maths, it is an astonishing 3.5 grades.

    Have a look at it and then tell me grade inflation doesn't exist.
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    (Original post by tesh^^)
    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.
    There is a world of truth in what you've said. Unlike before, exam technique is taught to the nth degree, to the point where you learn AROUND the technique, instead of applying a technique around what youi've learned. With some A Levels, take English for example- i remember the exam technique off by hearty. You mentally tick off boxes- "i've said that, that and that, i've done that, now for the conclusion, be careful to state that, etc etc". Asd loing as you remember to do certain things, you get marks, which make up the brunt. Then AFTER that, they take into account how good the answer is. Passing is thus extremely easy. Getting top grades however, isn't.

    And i think there is a wider point to be made.Back in the old days, there was little emphasis on league tables, you know, which school is better or worse than the others. Teachers taught the subjects- not how to pass exams. This gave pupils more knowledge about the particulars of a topic. Teachers didn't care so much about their schools reputation. These days, with these tables, schools are desperate to look good so they get mnore funding- so they blindly teach technique toensure a high pass rate- whether or not we actually learned well or not. How many of you rememberhalf of the stuff you did? I know all themaths i learned disappeared as soon as my pen hit the desk. And so it appears that exams are getting easier. This isn't true. We have merely learned better how to pass them, because our schools want to have the best marks.
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    This thread is another argument for why to do the international baccalaureate.
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    (Original post by Siddhartha)
    This thread is another argument for why to do the international baccalaureate.

    Ha, we can discuss that in another thread if you want. Suffice to say, it isn't.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    Ha, we can discuss that in another thread if you want. Suffice to say, it isn't.
    It seems to be. A-levels are not challenging enough, and thus the IB is a good alternative for students wanting to do some actual work.
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    I thought you said you teach?
    You thought wrong, kizer.

    I have never said I was a teacher.

    And I disagree with the way you have done your calculations because the number of applicants has also increased substantially in the last 20 years.
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    (Original post by yawn)
    You thought wrong, kizer.

    I have never said I was a teacher.

    And I disagree with the way you have done your calculations because the number of applicants has also increased substantially in the last 20 years.

    What?! You make no sense! I was talking about the PERCENTAGE of A Level grades!!

    How are the absolute numbers relevant for christ's sake?


    And by the way, I do actually teach.
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    (Original post by Siddhartha)
    It seems to be. A-levels are not challenging enough, and thus the IB is a good alternative for students wanting to do some actual work.

    Doing A Levels does not preclude you from doing 'actual work', and I never said they weren't challenging enough, Anyway, I don't believe a system that forces you to study a load of stuff you might not want to is better.

    But seriously, I won't spam this thread - create another thread if you want to discuss this!
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    (Original post by kizer)
    What?! You make no sense! I was talking about the PERCENTAGE of A Level grades!!
    OK, so my maths is a little rusty...but my knowledge of school management is better.

    I leave the mundane stuff to the Head Teacher and senior management team.

    That item I was telling your about? It was in Saturday's edition, not today's. The heading is "Average IQ is getting higher and higher."

    In the early 1980s the number of 18-year-olds dropped dramatically, due to the introduction of effective contraception in the 1960s. The reduction in numbers was not uniform, however, being particularly concentrated in socioeconomic groups D and E, which have an average IQ less than the national average. The numbers in groups A and B, with a higher IQ, reduced very little. The reason for this is that intelligent and well-educated women have always been better able to control fertility; the advent of the Pill in the 1960s provided this facility.

    Given the high heritability of IQ, the disproportionate reduction of the numbers of children born to the groups with the lowest IQ could be predicted to lead to an increase in IQ, for genetic as well as environmental reasons. The number of 18-year-olds reduces again over the next few years, and again the reduction is concentrated in the lower socioeconomic groups, so we can predict a continuing increase in average IQ.

    MARK MACNAIR, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics, University of Exeter
    We can expect results to carry on going up and up, it seems.
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    (Original post by yawn)
    OK, so my maths is a little rusty...but my knowledge of school management is better.

    I leave the mundane stuff to the Head Teacher and senior management team.

    That item I was telling your about? It was in Saturday's edition, not today's. The heading is "Average IQ is getting higher and higher."



    We can expect results to carry on going up and up, it seems.

    I don't deny IQ is going up (although that article seems to miss the very obvious point that birth control has led to birth rates plummetting among the well off as they delay children later and later).

    I deny that it accounts for the MASSIVE rise in A grades given out.

    And no shame in having rusty maths!
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    (Original post by Collingwood)
    Your anecdote isn't evidence of anything.
    I didn't claim it was, nor did I make a claim. It was you who made the claim, and provided no evidence.

    That's why actual scientific studies proceed on the basis of statistical correlations derived from large populations rather than individual anecdotes
    Would you care to provide some?
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    (Original post by Soc)
    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.

    1) You can write short notes, as your post implicitly acknowledges, and these are very helpful.

    2) You can't write long notes in theory. People do.

    3) In general, there will be about 15 multi-purpose quotes that will be useful for pretty much any essay. Besides, you just have to note at the top where good quotes are, and highlight them. Takes 1 min to find all you need.
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    (Original post by Soc)
    I didn't claim it was, nor did I make a claim. It was you who made the claim, and provided no evidence.


    Would you care to provide some?

    Well, as far as I can see it would be nigh on impossible to prove statistically that those exams were easier. We could look at the average IQ of people taking different subjects, or how well people who did in some subjects did in OTHER subjects. But frankly not only would that not actually prove anything, they haven't been done and won't be.


    Really as far as I can tell, the best evidence they were easier/less useful/less rigorous, would be if top universities did not value an A in them (which less people get percentage-wise) as highly as other subjects. But you reject that claim on the basis that they are just being snobby/elitist.

    So no evidence possible really apart from subjective evaluation of papers.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    Really as far as I can tell, the best evidence they were easier/less useful/less rigorous, would be if top universities did not value an A in them (which less people get percentage-wise) as highly as other subjects. But you reject that claim on the basis that they are just being snobby/elitist.
    Hate to use another anecdotal example, but its all I have. Royal Holloway, by no means a "top university", though good, rejected my Urdu A level on the assumption that it was my home language. It may or may not have been; I had not alluded to such on personal statement. Even though it was, it is erronous (sp) to assume that because it is a home language, it would be easier, because it was not, it still required more knowledge and understanding than just conversational. What I'm trying to say in a little longwinded style is that university admissions don't always know what they're on about.

    Out of interest, I would like to see this list of non traditional subjects that Oxbridge reject...
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    (Original post by Soc)
    Hate to use another anecdotal example, but its all I have. Royal Holloway, by no means a "top university", though good, rejected my Urdu A level on the assumption that it was my home language. It may or may not have been; I had not alluded to such on personal statement. Even though it was, it is erronous (sp) to assume that because it is a home language, it would be easier, because it was not, it still required more knowledge and understanding than just conversational. What I'm trying to say in a little longwinded style is that university admissions don't always know what they're on about.
    I'm sorry but I don't agree. If you speak a language, the A Level is vastly easier than otherwise. I don't know about Urdu, but with French, 5 out of 6 papers are language papers, with one literature paper - with a significant component for writing the language correctly.

    I fail to see how you can reasonably claim that speaking a language fluently, natively, whatever you want to call it, is not a HUGE advantage.



    Out of interest, I would like to see this list of non traditional subjects that Oxbridge reject...
    Oxford don't have a list, they just say they prefer traditional subjects. Here is the Cambridge list:http://www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/unde...ements/#course (about 2/3 of the way down)

    They say that you can apply so long as you have at least 2 'traditional' subjects, because the [non traditional] A level subjects provide a less effective preparation for our courses.



    That doesn't explicitly say they are easier, but that seems to me to be the implication.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    I fail to see how you can reasonably claim that speaking a language fluently, natively, whatever you want to call it, is not a HUGE advantage.
    A little advantage yes, huge advantage no. Knowing about the culture, media, history and literature of the language, forms two thirds of the A2 part of the course, and its not necessary for every native speaker to know all these things.

    (Original post by kizer)
    They say that you can apply so long as you have at least 2 'traditional' subjects, because the [non traditional] A level subjects provide a less effective preparation for our courses.

    That doesn't explicitly say they are easier, but that seems to me to be the implication.
    For "their" courses, which are not necessarily the best courses for everything. Most people doing Sport Science, for example, which from what I know is a pretty rigorous subject, aren't going to be applying to Cambridge anyway.
 
 
 
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