But my oldest is now in Year 10, and this morning a postcard has arrived for him, congratulating him on his results in the November 09 Modules of his Science GCSEs. I saw the first line, which said he'd achieved three A*s (for Physics, Chemistry and Biology), and I was obviously very pleased for him.
I should point out here that my understanding of today's grades was that an A was the same as the Grade 1 we had in O-Levels in the 1970's, and that A* had been added on top of that, ie even better. To distinguish between the top 1% and the rest of the top 5%, or something.
Then I read the next line...
Huh? When I was at school (oh God, I sound like my mother), it was quite a big thing to get Grade 1s, as we had then. Only those people who were not only very bright, but also worked embarrassingly hard (ie not me), got more than one or two Grade 1s. (Or maybe that was just my school?).
And now one in three students achieves three A*s in Science?
I am obviously still very pleased for my son, because he definitely does know his stuff, and he's going to need good Science passes to do the A-levels he needs, but - well - it's clearly not quite the stand-out achievement I'd been imagining A*s to mean.