Exams are getting easier every year

Another year of record exam results is upon us, and of course, they’ve got easier again.

While this is often refuted by the industry, here are two reasons why exams arguably genuinely are getting easier every year.

1. Teaching standards get better and the exams do not get proportionally harder as a result.

The argument against this is that just because teaching standards are getting better doesn’t mean that the exams should get harder as well. After all, if you can teach a child more stuff in a shorter period of time, that actually means they do actually know more and thus deserve a higher grade than the generation before.

However, to add to this discussion, there isn’t a great deal of evidence that younger generations are actually significantly smarter than previous ones. Teaching standards are getting better, but not necessarily at teaching children useful information, rather they are getting better at teaching kids to do well in exams.

If there was huge leaps of improvement in teaching techniques to make children smarter, surely we would all expect to be significantly smarter than our parents and I don’t think this is the case.

2. The exam board make conscious decision to award higher grades each year.

It’s all very well saying more children reached A grade standard this year, every year, but this is actually a long way from the way that universities work.

At degree level, everyone sits the same paper, they are all marked and then they work out how easy or how hard the paper was and move the grade boundaries according – so if everyone got really high marks they will up the grade boundaries to reduce the amount of people that did well and if everyone did really badly they reduce the grade boundaries to increase the amount of people that passed.

This prevents one year who get a really hard paper being unfairly punished against a year later which may get a much easier paper. This is a system which has been functioning in universities for a long time and seems to work very well.

Arguably this means that fifty years down the line you end up with people who should be achieving far higher grades than people do now, getting the same grades but who really cares? Exam grades are really about employers and universities being able to differentiate between people and once you have a degree or a job nobody really gives a crap about your GCSEs and A-Levels so what does it even matter if that is the case?



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This entry was posted on Saturday, August 28th, 2010 at 8:24 am and is filed under Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.