Radical changes are victims of their own success

1st September 1995 at 01:00
Once again we hear the annual castigation of A-level results. Of course the increased number of good results couldn't possibly have anything to do with quality teaching, high levels of competence of subject specialists and increased motivation of students. After all, this would be contrary to the Government's perception of the current state of education in this country. No no no that would not do! What would happen to all those learned bodies set up to monitor and advise on quality and educational standards? The 'boys' would be without jobs!

As for comparing today's examinations with previous years, I would suggest the following: a) The content matter of current A-level syllabuses is more difficult and involved than syllabuses of 20 years ago.

b) Questions on current examination papers are more demanding and require a higher level of understanding than those of 20 years ago. I would even go so far as to say that in some cases the A-level papers set over 20 years ago would not be far removed from the standard of some current GCSE Papers.

Let credit be given where credit is due. It should be publicly acknowledged that the increased number of good A-level results is down to dedication and subject expertise of teachers, increased awareness of syllabus requirements, and higher levels of motivation among the students involved.

Then again, how would the Government justify any radical changes in education?

ALAN STANCLIFFE

13 Marlborough Croft, South Elmsall, Pontefract, West Yorkshire

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