Market forces down standards

10th September 2004 at 01:00
So, once more we have the annual spectacle of the illiterate, the innumerate and the inarticulate happily taking home bunches of A* results in wheelbarrows, enthusing with carefully considered reflections such as "Well it's basically like sort of 'wow' know what I mean, innit?"

Once more battle is joined with members of the Government and their poodles, the only ones who try to maintain the farce of constant standards.

In all the oft-repeated exchanges at this time, two points get overlooked. First, we are continually told that we are insulting hard-working students by protesting at dumbing-down. Not so! We are supporting hard-working students insulted by seeing others less worthy, scuttling away with trophies to which they are not entitled and which are therefore devalued.

The second point is, to misquote Gresham: "Bad exams drive out good."

Teachers play the market, watchful for softer options, not because they want to but because of the national obsession with league tables.

If an exam board tries to maintain standards it will not survive.

Pat O'Byrne

199 Nutfield Road

Merstham, Surrey

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