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Grade A students

PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:01 23 August 2010

STUDENTS and teachers have rubbished claims that exams are getting easier as A-level pass rates rise nationally for the 26th consecutive year. Teenagers across the county were celebrating their successes last Thursday as the number of students achieving

STUDENTS and teachers have rubbished claims that exams are getting easier as A-level pass rates rise nationally for the 26th consecutive year.

Teenagers across the county were celebrating their successes last Thursday as the number of students achieving two or more A to E grades rose one per cent to 93 per cent, the highest since 2002.

Research by Durham University suggests that most subjects have got two grades easier over the past two decades meaning that an A-grade achieved in 2008 is equivalent to a C grade in 1980.

Despite the claim students and teachers were quick to disagree.

Gravesend Grammar School for Boys student Simon Leverit, 18, of Oakmead, Meopham, got four A-grades and is heading to Nottingham University to study medicine.

He said: "I didn't study back then so I don't know what it was like but now you have to study otherwise you would fail. It's obvious that if you don't put in the work then you won't get the top grades.

"Everybody here has worked extremely hard. I think it's important to consider the students. Everybody should be proud of what they have achieved."

Cobham Hall School for Girls student Stephanie Barnard, 18, of Sole Street, Gravesend, got two Cs and a D and is heading to Canterbury University to do film studies.

She said: "There is no way A-levels are getting easier. I don't agree with that at all, they are really hard. A lot of people say that A-levels are harder than university." Government plans mean new A-level syllabuses will be introduced for students starting next month. They will feature more open-ended questions and the option of doing a university-style dissertation intended to test the students' creative thinking.

Sarah Tremain, 34, learning manager for the sixth form at Gravesend Grammar School for Boys, said: "The results are brilliant this year. They have been a very good year group.

"The requirements for the students are different than they were 20 years ago, that's the key. For example, the amount of information available to the students is much larger now. They have tools for research such as the internet that they didn't have 30 years ago. The skills being taught are different now and the exams have changed to reflect that.

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