8:00am Sunday 2nd September 2012 in News
ANOTHER set of school exam results and yet another row over marking.
Every summer we hear complaints over GCSEs – usually that the exams are not hard enough because pass rates keep going up.
This year, just to make a change, we hear that markers have been too strict because pass rates have fallen.
It is probably the case that neither is true.
It is worth noting that those who usually do the complaining sat their own version of exams some 20, 30 or perhaps even 40 years ago.
Those were different times with different requirements and different expectations.
Yes it may be true that today’s youngsters know little about Latin, logarithms or the Battle of Naseby, but then do they need to?
Those grey-haired critics with an intimate knowledge of Cromwell and the New Model Army may not find themselves at the top of the class when it comes to HTML, Voice over Internet Protocol or modern languages – but does that make them failures by today’s standards?
School exams are what they are – a method by which the youngsters of each year are measured one against another – and against those a year or two older or younger than themselves.
GCSEs are not meant to compare today’s 16-year-olds with their parents, grandparents or even their future grandchildren.
So forget about whose exams were tougher, whose schooling was more rigorous or whose markers were most strict.
Now is simply the time to pat this crop of youngsters on the back and offer them a hearty vote of congratulations.
After all, in 20 years they’ll be the ones bemoaning falling standards and Mickey Mouse courses.
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