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PUBLISHED: 15:07 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:00 23 August 2010

STUDENTS and teachers have rubbished claims that exams are getting easier as A-Level pass rates rise for the 27th consecutive year. Teenagers across the county were celebrating their successes last Thursday as A-level pass rates rose to a record 97.5 pe

STUDENTS and teachers have rubbished claims that exams are getting easier as A-Level pass rates rise for the 27th consecutive year.

Teenagers across the county were celebrating their successes last Thursday as A-level pass rates rose to a record 97.5 per cent, up 0.3 per cent on last year.

Critics have questioned the modular system which allows students to take resits to boost their final results as well as a focus on exam preparation, which has seen youngsters memorising guidance given to markers to help them score maximum marks.

But as students opened their results, they were supported by teachers in denying claims.

Gravesend Grammar School for Boys student James Rolf, 18, of Sallows Shaw, Sole Street, got three A-grades and a B and is heading to Durham University to study physics.

He said: "I haven't done any of the A-Level exams in earlier years so I can't really say if they are getting harder or not but I had to put in a lot of work to get these grades. It wasn't easy."

Alan Smithers, Professor of Education at the University of Buckingham, said the 20 per cent rise of pupils passing A-levels from 1990 and 2008, when the international baccalaureate (IB) had remained almost constant, was proof of a relative fall in standards.

Conservatives also accused the government of 'dumbing down' the exams system, and proposed a new league table based on the destination of school-leavers, giving higher points for entry to top universities.

Geoff Wybar, head of Gravesend Grammar School for Boys, said: "We here the same thing every year and it is plain to see that performance has been improving over the last 27 years. But a few things need to be said about that.

"There is some evidence to suggest that IQs are increasing around the world and if you have a educational system that's based on testing of this kind then of course people are going to keep getting better at it. But students and staff are working very hard to achieve these results.

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