Thursday, 25 August 2011

Why I don't believe GCSE's are dumbed down

Today I headed out for work passing my 15 year old son, Joe waiting at the bus stop to travel in, on his own, to collect his GCSE results.
He is in Year 10 so the results he was picking up today were for the elements of course work and exams he was allowed to do a year early. He was nervous even though his Dad and I kept telling him he had worked hard enough to be proud of the results, whatever happened. As it is, he did outstandingly well with 5 A stars and a B.

I have heard a lot today about the dumbing down of exams and how more kids are getting higher grades because things are easier for them. I have to say this is not my experience. Having observed Joe's course work, memorably a dissertation on the arguments surrounding Genetic Engineering I feel weak when I think of the standards he has already reached. I think the results come because they are allowed several bites at the cherry, so rather than the results being dependent on a single exam, students can build up a mark in a way that means an increasing number are like Joe, they just keep going until they get straight A stars, or die trying. I'm not sure how I feel about this, especially as it produces unrelenting pressure over a much longer period, but with Universities setting ever higher standards, we can do nothing less than support him as he battles for his future.

Still, I am so proud. Bloody well done Joe.

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