Is GCSE English also getting easier?

20th April 2001 at 01:00
It is always a tonic to see the artifice behind supposedly rising test standards exposed.

Perhaps the Cambridge University researchers who revealed that key stage 2 English tests have become easier could now take a look at GCSE English.

If they did, they would find a whole box of tricks that has gradually been assembled over the past dozen or so years to ensure ever-increasing grades, providing further justification for successive overnments to undertake chaotic and bodged educational reform.

It is, however, one thing to identify spurious test claims, but quite another to suggest, as researcher Mary Hilton does, that the tests could mask an actual fall in standards.

Such an imprudent (and probably non-demonstrable) speculation tends to dilute the impact of an otherwise sound thesis.

John Steadman 14 Garrigill Fatfield Washington Tyne and Wear

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