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From: David H Rhodes, Keeble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York. THE school examination results have been announced and no doubt many students are rejoicing in what they have attained through very hard work. Congratulations to them. This does, however, bring an air of confusion as to the genuine merit and value of the grades attained. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that 50 years ago only a percentage of examinees were passed in each grade, A, B, etc. If so, it would have had the benefit of stricter marking and no added points for crude expressions.
Universities would have had a better selection process as there would have been limited numbers in each grade and thus quality would stand out. No examination board could ever set papers year in and out of exactly the same difficulty, thus the percentage gain would have smoothed out such anomalies. The fact that, in recent times, A*s have been introduced to distinguish better grading because of better pass rates year on year, might suggest that slightly increasing the difficulty of the exam papers may be a way forward. The Government, and especially Education Ministers, revel in the results at this time of year. Why then is there no mention of the fact that about 50 per cent of our pupils still can't manage five GCSE passes? This means that years later, Tony Blair's wish for 50 per cent of students to enter higher education is not being met. May I suggest a pass in both English and mathematics at GCSE level be a pre-requisite before A-levels be taken. From: Mrs Judith Robson. Leeds Road, Selby.
CONCERNING the letter from Miss Judith Wood, (Yorkshire Post, August 23), headlined "A system that worked", from 1958 until he retired in 1969, my late husband, John Whitehead, was headmaster of Allerton Grange School in Leeds. During these years he built up what had been a secondary modern to a fully...