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Can you believe how low the pass mark for an A-level has become?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Duke of York, Aug 14, 2019.

  1. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter


    "Details of A-level grade boundaries for all papers set by two exam boards have been leaked on social media a day before the results are published.

    The documents reveal that A-level maths candidates needed little more than half marks to get a grade A in papers set by both Pearson/Edexcel and OCR."

    It's virtually impossible to fail now, ain't it?

    No doubt as soon as the results are announced, we'll have the education secretary telling us how much education has improved since schools became academies and citing the results as proof.

    What's the betting they use similar tactics to prove how great a success Brexit was?
    Mrsmumbles and monicabilongame like this.
  2. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    A good post, right up to the start of the last paragraph.

    And then it went downhill.
  3. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    You would still fail English.
  4. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    The grade boundaries are now set to keep the percentage of candidates getting each grade approximately constant from year to year. This was the first year of the new linear maths A level. For Edexcel the first two papers bore little resemblance to the specimen papers and were much harder. The low grade boundaries reflect the fact that the exam was unreasonably difficult.

    Why do you post about something you know nothing about?
  5. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

  6. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    I can appreciate that this ensures students sitting a particularly difficult exam one year are not disadvantaged over students from another year when the exam wasn't as hard.

    But trying to keep grade numbers constant each year does not really show if standards are dropping or rising. What might merit a B grade one year might mean an A or C the following year. This will also disadvantage some students.

    Its the job of the examination bodies ensure that the standard of exams are constant from year to year. No easy task I agree but that is what they are paid to do. If they cannot without needing to move grade boundaries then there is a fault with the system. Can you imagine the standard of the driving test changing from year to year to ensure enough people pass?

    Or there is my "wizzard" solution. use the same exam paper each year then no one can complain its harder or easier then the previous year. Its such a simple idea what can possibly go wrong? :D
    peter12171, Laphroig, lanokia and 3 others like this.
  7. LondonCanary

    LondonCanary Star commenter

    A bit like the normative marking of yesteryear.
  8. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Why should I as an employer or parent need to know the technicalities of how grades are assessed? I would expect there to be more professionalism in the education system to ensure that exams remain consistent in terms of difficulty (or ease).

    Perhaps you can explain how the effect of only requiring a 50% pass mark to get a grade A impacts on the lower grades? Do I need to point out that you can achieve a 50% success rate by tossing a coin?
    Mrsmumbles and monicabilongame like this.
  9. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

  10. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Ah yes but that only applies if the exam has 1 question. To get 50% in an exam with 10 question you would need to get a 1 in 2 guess right 5 times.

    so its not 1 in 2 it is 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 whatever % that is.

    I think :confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:.

    But you are right employers/parents need consistency in standards of education and are not impressed with constant tinkering of the exam system.
    Mrsmumbles, bombaysapphire and nomad like this.
  11. anon8836

    anon8836 New commenter

    It's disgusting beyond words. Imagine if you went to a shop and they didn't know what change to give you because they had passed A level maths with only just over half their answers correct in the exam. How does anyone know how to employ anyone these days when they think they've passed an exam and yet only half their answers in that exam were correct?
  12. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    Do you imagine the exam is multiple choice with only two alternative answers for each question?

    I'm not trying to defend the low grade boundaries, I completely agree it is ridiculous. I'm just pointing out this does not mean it is easy to get a grade A. The low grade boundaries are a result of poorly thought out reforms and exams which are too difficult. If you want to blame anyone, blame the loathsome Gove.
  13. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    or is it 1/2+ 1/2 + 1/2 etc?

    I can't remember :oops: my brain hurts and its time for cocoa and biscuits now :cool:
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  14. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    The exam was harder than usual by all accounts.

    Hence the grade boundaries.

    Basic stuff.
  15. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    No. I occasionally wonder though, when kids with A-levels ask whether I want fries with that, a binary answer, I'm sure you'll agree, I can never guarantee whether or not that fries will be served.

    At Saturday's London meet for example, my sweetheart was adamant she wanted salad rather than chips. She duly got a salad, but she was also served chips.

    How bleedin' difficult is it?

    So the system failed.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  16. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    The aim has been to increase the difficulty of qualifications

    So no.
  17. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    Do you really think that A level maths is about working out the change? Anyway the till does that for them The ignorance on here beggars belief.
  18. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    To take relative attainment into account, they look at the achievement profile of the cohort before calculating the number of grades to be awarded i.e. if GCSE grades were up for the cohort, more higher grades would be awarded
  19. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    There are a couple of posters on this thread who have clearly demonstrated that their mathematical knowledge is insufficient to even pass Year 6 SATs, particularly with regard to simple probability.


    (Sadly. :()
    BW12345, pipryan, phlogiston and 3 others like this.
  20. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Why? Why isn't the aim to improve to standard of education without moving the goalposts?

    Let me impart some of my engineering expertise into this debate. Engineering relies on having standards that components need to meet and pass stringent inspection standards. It's very simple to set a required standard and measure whether a component passes or fails that standard.

    The quality of goods we buy these days is vastly superior to what our parents had to put up with, for example, when I was young, it was common to see broken down motors by the side of the road. These days they are so rare, we can conclude that AA and RAC membership is now a con.

    Engineers can't lie in the same way it appears that teachers can. There is something fundamentallly wrong with a system that hasn't a clue what the required standard should be or how it has to be assessed.

    Seriously, if you bought a bike that fell apart as soon as you rode it and were told "Well they changed the inspection standards before that bike went on the market and it passed them all after that, so tough luck mate.", would you find it acceptable?

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