Monday, 28 January 2008

Educational standards

First the Labour government made the GCSE exams easier. Then they made HNDs equivalent to multiple GCSEs so that they could include HND results in the GCSE figures without any explanation of the equivalence. Then they lowered the GCSE pass marks even further. Meanwhile the A'level exams were made easier, so easy that an A grade pass became the norm in many schools. Now this Labour government are to announce that private companies will be allowed to award A'level equivalent exam qualifications. The first three companies are McDonalds, FlyBe and Network Rail. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said that all three firms had been given awarding body status to Level 3 - which is equivalent to A Levels or the specialised diploma and FlyBe has won accreditation to offer qualifications that could theoretically form part of degree - Level 4.

I have many thoughts about the sense in allowing this to happen and what it will do to educational standards in this country. My prime thought this morning was over the way the story was covered by the BBC. The formal announcement will be made later today but Gordon Brown so the coverage was quietly factual and repeated government claims about the reasoning behind it. I was struck by the thought that it would all have been so different if this had been a policy to be announced by Mrs Thatcher back in 1990; then the BBC attack machine would have swung into action.

So the enxt time you go to McDonalds, and I never do, be ready to hear "Would you like 'A' levels with that?"

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