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Dumbed down or what?? - dorsetgirl
February 5th, 2010
12:16 pm
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Dumbed down or what??
Anyone who has kids in State Schools in the UK, or has attended a UK State School in the past twenty years or so, will be familiar with the concept of "dumbing down" of educational qualifications. I hadn't taken too much notice, to be honest, having left school, ooh, quite a long time ago now.

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...

...which puts him in the top 33% of the year


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.

/shocked.




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From:hambelandjemima
Date:February 5th, 2010 12:36 pm (UTC)
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I would read that as the Year being divided into 3 and your son slots into the top third of his Year group, not that all of the top 33% have achieved A*'s.

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From:dorsetgirl
Date:February 5th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
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Oh, OK. I'm not sure that makes any sense, but iirc you have more experience in this area than I do. Thanks for the explanation!
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From:hambelandjemima
Date:February 5th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure that I have more experience than you, lol. The school my second son attends have done a bit of 'number-crunching' (their words, not mine). They've taken the grades for effort and behaviour from last term's reports, added them together for each student and have come up with a list of students that shows in descending order who is putting the most effort into lessons and who is behaving the best. They then divided the list into three and sent out letters to parents to inform them their child is in the top/middle/bottom third of his/her Year group for effort and behaviour in lessons.
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