Crowded at the top

THE Britons are, for a change, getting worked up about high A-level results. While students and parents may be elated about the highest ever A-level passes awarded this year, universities, educationists and prospective employers are seeing the extraordinarily high A-level results as a sign of falling education standards in Britain. This year one in four students received the highest grade, compared with one in five last year. Apparently, it is getting crowded at the top.

This is not the first time that A-level results have led to concerns about the declining standards of British education system. It is being increasingly felt that the examination is alarmingly easy allowing a growing number of students to pass with flying colours. So much so that universities and employers cannot accurately evaluate students’ merit because top grades of A and B are now so common. No wonder universities have introduced their own entrance examinations in some subjects.

The minister concerned, state education secretary Ruth Kelly, has so far resisted the calls to reform the A-level examination and restore the respect and sanctity once reserved for A-levels. Earlier this year the government rejected the key recommendation of an official inquiry by Sir Mike Tomlinson that the examination be replaced by a diploma. Instead it introduced separate diplomas for vocational subjects.

However, with concerns about the A-level standards growing by the day, the Blair government cannot resist the call for change for long.

More news from OPINION