Friday, March 07, 2008

'A' levels - the gold standard ?

On hearing Ed Ball's latest ploy to try to destroy objective information with his social engineering diploma scheme I was going to write a rant about why anyone needs 4.5 A Levels anyway - at least of the difficulty which was the standard when I took them in the mid 1980's. ( 3 A levels could get you into Oxford or Cambridge in those days ).

But then I saw a quote about Michael Grove referring to 'A' levels as the gold standard, and thought a bit more about what he was actually saying. Reference to a gold standard doesn't mean gold as in coming first or being expensive, but in terms of be convertible into something of intrinsic value. 'A' levels, at least in the sciences, used to lay the ground work for understanding science, defining its language and philosophy as well as a bit of history and a few facts. This had convertable value to many of the applied subjects that you could study afterwards as well as keeping on with a more narrow range of interests in the pure sciences.

I wonder if the new Diploma will be 'convertible' to something of worth ?

I worry as I see how my children are now taught. Arithmetic is now re-branded numeracy and is hidden behind a range of woolly concepts that are not clearly defined like number bonds, differences sharing out etc. Gone is the clarity - in is the muddle that many primary school educationalists probably felt themselves when they failed to get qualifications in maths and the sciences.

I am told by a science teacher that the situation is far worse in GCSE sciences and now A levels. A trip to the BBC's revision web site should show you that.

Gone are the convertible underlying principals. In are trendy subjects designed to make scince more relevant and interesting - but unfortunately impossible to carry out as you are not actually getting an education in science any more.

Our education system has suffered grade inflation, curriculum dumbing down, debasement by widespread and systematic cheating and even the subject of the curriculum is now longer valid.

The use, ie proof of convertible ability, skills and understanding, of these qualifications has been reducing for years. They are no longer held to any standard. You can only suspect that the diploma's will be worse as they are provided by the same liars and cheats who ruined the current system and whose motives for that destruction are the same as they were before.

Now what the government should do is let people choose whatever qualifications they like and let the market decide. But then it would be harder to damage middle class children's futures with you socialist hate and spite that way wouldn't it.

No comments: