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So, are A-Levels really getting easier? watch

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    i agree that the A levels have got easier if you compare them with the previous years. However, I think it is because they made the syllabuses more clear so you know exactly what to learn and there would be confusion between things. But still, this is only one factor. I'm still pretty sure that they are becoming too straight-forward in exams when they ask the questions, especially in chemistry and maths. AS chemistry was pretty simple this year. I doubt that it can deviate the smart people from the dumb people...
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    I feel disgusted that these so-called 'know-it-alls' believe that A-levels are easier these days.

    Results are getting better because WE are getting better.

    And why are we getting better?

    Better Resources

    Free access to one of the greatest resources available to us - the internet.

    Many schools and sixth form colleges provide us with excellent revision guides which give clear and relevant information and even practice exam questions (you can by revision books from Amazon and many other internet shopping sites)

    Learning forums like this one where hundreds of students can help eachother out on their subjects is surely another cause of much better results. (Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the only source of revision available to students was from your schoolbooks or a library book with no colour - just endless text)

    And perhaps a more demanding world where universities demand good A-level results and many professional careers demand degrees makes us more pressured to work harder.

    I'm not surprised we're doing better! :cool:
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    Also, before 1988 there was no National Curriculum, and no OFSTED, so teachers could teach how they liked, what they liked. That's bound to make a difference to our generation's results to some extent isn't it?
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    The problem is that especially for the science subjects, the syllabus is restricted and so they ask the same questions every year (or near enough). If they changed the syllabus say every two years, then there would be a level of unpredictability.

    True, resources like text books and revision guides are exact to the syllabus one studies.
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    (Original post by JamesH)
    I feel disgusted that these so-called 'know-it-alls' believe that A-levels are easier these days.

    Results are getting better because WE are getting better.
    If that is the case, and many believe it is not, then the A-Levels need to get harder to match. The government is wanting 50% of people to go to Uni. With all the debts etc now being incurred by this, the UK is going to hit a crunch point.

    We cannot have a work-force consisting entirely of middle-managers! If you are going to leave Uni, with £30,000 in debt, and a 2:1 then you want a good job at the end. The problem is we cannot pay graduate burger-flippers £30K per year. We cannot pay graduate receptionists £30K per year, we cannot pay graduate admin staff £30K per year. Does a bricklayer really want to spend £3,000 per year tuition on a BSc in Structural Assembly Sciences?

    If so-many people are being shoe-horned in to Higher Education, then it does have the effect of de-valuing the degrees. I worked this year in an office, and there were many graduate temps, earning £6 per hour doing data-entry and filing. If degrees overall are devalued, people will place more importance on going to Oxbridge and Russell group universities, as they need some way of putting themselves at the top of the employment market.

    Oxbridge recieve many many more applications from people all predicted AAA than they have places for. We now have admissions tests for Law and Medicine. We have Oxbridge having to run whole series of rigourous interviews. We have STEP papers required for many of the sciences.

    Regardless of whether the standard is slipping or not, if A-Levels are to be used for university admissions, then they need to be made harder. I posted earlier saying that tying the grades to your ranking overall, i.e. the top 15% get A, then the next 10% get B etc would be a better method of marking. Life is competitive, so maybe A-Levels should be as well.
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    Not to devalue anyone's hard work but...

    a) Look at equivalent exam papers from 5, 10, 20 years ago. They're harder.

    b) Whenever this topic comes up, eg BBC Online Talking Point yesterday, you get hoardes of teachers who've done the same subject for ~30 years saying how it's all got progressively easier.

    c) Employers repeatedly say how new recruits are not of the same standard compared to people with the same qualifications 10, 20 years before them.

    d) 5 years ago you take a paper and get a C, period. Now you can take a paper, get a C, resit it, get a C again, resit it, be in luck and get an A.

    e) Every year there's inching up. In 2000 getting 10A*s or 5As would be a story for the local paper, tomorrow you'll have people with 16A*s / 8As...
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    Isn't it obvious that teachers want us to get better grades these days so the exam boards let us resit

    As I said, good careers demand good A-level results and a degree.

    Also, as I said, better resources.

    Exams are NOT easier!
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    I don't think that exams are getting easier. My biology department gave us practice question going back to atleast '95 and they didn't seem any easier. I don't think that science subjects are easy as somone stated earlier on this thread. Science subjects are really hard. We have to learn a huge amount of information and there are large amounts of the syllabus that weren't even known about when my parents did their A-levels. How students are meant to feel when they are being constantly told that their marks are worthless I don't know.

    There are a few reasons I think that the grades are going up

    1) Clearer syllabi, it is now very obvious to students what they need and don't need to know

    2) Coursework this allows students to learn and study aspects of the course in more detail and some subjects have essay coursework which prepares them for university. Some people will be better at coursework than they are at exams

    3) Other options- there are more options for people who get decent marks at GCSE. They don't have to go into A-levels there are many different options. So people who before would have done A-levels and struggled now have other options.

    4) The spreading out of exams. This means that students have a better idea of where they are and what they need to get by the time they get to their final exams. The spreading out of exams also means that it doesn't all count on how you are performing in the space of a month. It is spread out to measure your performance for the whole course. This means that if you are depressed at the end of the exams it won't be so desarsterous.

    I don't think that exams are getting easier they are just changing.
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    (Original post by randdom)
    I don't think that exams are getting easier. My biology department gave us practice question going back to atleast '95 and they didn't seem any easier. I don't think that science subjects are easy as somone stated earlier on this thread. Science subjects are really hard. We have to learn a huge amount of information and there are large amounts of the syllabus that weren't even known about when my parents did their A-levels. How students are meant to feel when they are being constantly told that their marks are worthless I don't know.

    There are a few reasons I think that the grades are going up

    1) Clearer syllabi, it is now very obvious to students what they need and don't need to know

    2) Coursework this allows students to learn and study aspects of the course in more detail and some subjects have essay coursework which prepares them for university. Some people will be better at coursework than they are at exams

    3) Other options- there are more options for people who get decent marks at GCSE. They don't have to go into A-levels there are many different options. So people who before would have done A-levels and struggled now have other options.

    4) The spreading out of exams. This means that students have a better idea of where they are and what they need to get by the time they get to their final exams. The spreading out of exams also means that it doesn't all count on how you are performing in the space of a month. It is spread out to measure your performance for the whole course. This means that if you are depressed at the end of the exams it won't be so desarsterous.

    I don't think that exams are getting easier they are just changing.
    *applauds* Yep, totally! Obviously, it's indisputable that results are getting better, but the reasons are far more complaex than "Exams are easier" per se.
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    My dad: "A-levels are so easy."
    Me: "....Ok....can you test me please?"
    My dad: "Ok then..wait, what the hell is all this genetics crap?"

    I agree that is is partly down to the syllabus, give some new exams to your parents and they would struggle just like we would do with theirs.

    (Original post by Invisible)
    A-Levels are getting easier. Take exams from 5 years ago, same syllabuses, and you'll see the difference in the difficulty of questions compared to 2004 exam papers.
    Really? Perhaps that was just a hard exam with low grade boundaries....
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    (Original post by Invisible)
    A-Levels are getting easier. Take exams from 5 years ago, same syllabuses, and you'll see the difference in the difficulty of questions compared to 2004 exam papers.
    Depends which subjects. For the subjects I do (history, classics, politics, rs) the actual questions on the exam paper and the amount we have to learn is pretty much the same since 5 years ago..........what may have changed is the leniency of the marking I suppose......
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    Really? Perhaps that was just a hard exam with low grade boundaries.... [/QUOTE]

    yes, this is the problem....you can't just compare papers and content.....the marking has to be taken into account....
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    People who claim that A-levels are too easy are dumb w*nks.

    It's not easy to get an A, it's just not impossible. If you work hard, & try your best, & reach your potential, it can happen. I got 2 A's at AS & I'm expecting at least 2 at A2, if not 3. I worked HARD, really HARD. It didn't come easy. It was a lot of work, and I refuse to let my A-levels be belittled by a discussion that is completely out-of-touch with the real world.

    I think this discussion is completely stupid. I hate the fact that it comes up every year in the papers. It's an insult to those who didn't do well; and it's disheartening to those who were ecstatic to get A grades.

    I wish d*ck head politicians would keep their mouths shut & start complaining about something that they actually have half a clue about. The fact that these people influence the education system is sad. The whole reason the synoptic element of A-levels was introduced was because of their claims that A-levels are too easy. If they were made to sit A-level papers, I think they'd change their tunes pretty promptly. Students & tutors are continuously appalled by the claim that A-levels are easy - And I really think that they know a hell of a lot more about it than anyone else.

    I don't know how people can diss A-levels. In America, the SATs are equivalent to A-levels, and they're multiple choice exams that anyone could pass. The standard of education in our country is high; people who have good A-levels should be proud of them, & not feel disheartened by the idiotic claims that A-levels mean nothing.
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    AAAAAAAAARGH. No they are not getting easier! The teaching is better! Retakes take the pressure off...people are dropping subjects they hate/do badly at at AS level.

    But we are getting smarter.
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    (Original post by amylouise)
    People who claim that A-levels are too easy are dumb w*nks.
    A-Levels are too easy though. Whether or not they have become easier, or whether candidates have improved is irrelevant.

    There are too many people with AAA for the universities to make educated decisions on admissions.

    Gordon Brown attacked Oxford for rejecting Laura Spence when she was predicted (and achieved) AAA. The point is though that she was one of hundereds of people with AAA not making it in to their first choice university.

    When universities are being forced to make conditions based on exams other than A-Levels, such as LNat, and STEP papers, then yes A-Levels are too easy.
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    (Original post by Invisible)
    So why do I magically find the 5 years old Maths, Physics, Computing papers magically harder than the recent ones?

    The questions are more difficult.

    Read what Jools said, instead of just stating comments to please yourself. He backed his views up, you just don't want to admit the truth.

    The factors you stated aid exam success, but nevertheless, the papers in 2004 and so on are not as difficult as from 5 to 10 years ago.
    I'm afraid an opinion cannot be valued as a fact. In other words, you might think that they are easier, but others might not.

    Maybe you should consider this - do you really think that the exam papers of 5 to 10 years ago covered the exact same syllabus as todays exams - therefore, of course they're going to seem harder since some of the older syllabuses would have taught topics that perhaps we study little of in today's exams :rolleyes:
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    I think it's also important to take note of the fact that young people are becoming more independent. Years ago (and even now to some extent) many students were forced to do A-levels because of the pressure from their parents. Many parents tried to decide their kids careers, pressuring them to become doctors and lawyers. But now, young people think far more for themselves.

    So, who is going to voluntarily go into 2 years of optional education to slack off & get sh*t grades???? I would not have started my A-levels if I didn't care about getting good qualifications at the end of it. I decided what subjects I wanted to do, regardless of any pressure from parents.

    Independence is on the increase every year. And with that comes a sense of responsibility and determination, & that is why people do well.
    Student rights also mean that we don't have to put up with incredibly awful teachers. We have some say over who teaches us & how we learn.

    & if an exam paper gets easier one year, the grade boundaries are made higher. I don't see how it can vary from year-to-year. It stays pretty much constant, with the pass rate slowly creeping up as we take more responsibility for our own decisions.
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    (Original post by dave134)
    A-Levels are too easy though.
    Did you think so when you did your A-level exams?
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    (Original post by JamesH)
    Did you think so when you did your A-level exams?
    Alevels are easier than 10 years ago...the scope of papers is narrowed...and it has become modular which allows people to focus on fewer topics and get better result compared to one final paper for Alevel...
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    (Original post by JamesH)
    Did you think so when you did your A-level exams?
    Roughly, yes. I did sit them a while ago though
 
 
 
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