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Education, A’ level standards

November 3, 2005

Are standards falling? If so who’s to blame.

Some years ago my headteacher talked to me about falling number of students taking A’ level Physics and falling grades. He asked me why we used one particular syllabus. I told him it was because it was challenging and interesting and that successful students have really proved how much Physics they know and that it was a good basis for University study. He reiterated that fewer students were choosing it and that average grades were falling. I thought this was because one third (the Physics part) of a double award Science GCSE was not as good as a GCSE or O’ level in Physics and that their Maths was weaker. Could I do anything about this? No. His solution: choose an easier A’ level syllabus. So I did.

It being a new syllabus, there was a shortage of specifically matching text books. I found that 90% of the first year of the A level course was covered with old O’ level books. What does that tell you?

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