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January 16, 2005

A Wee Bit of Grade Inflation

It's been like manna from heaven this weekend, that is, if you're on the hunt for sad tales of math instruction. I'm sure that a lot of fragile British egos are being protected when all it takes to earn a B grade is to score 17% on the math GCSE exam:

The pass marks for the new exam, which was taken last summer by 7,500 children from 65 schools and is due to be introduced nationwide next year, were an all-time low.

Pupils sitting GCSE maths last year had to achieve about 40 per cent to get a B grade. But with the new exam, designed by the Cambridge-based exam board OCR, those who got as little as 17 per cent were given a B, while those scoring 45 per cent were awarded an A.

The move, revealed just days after Government ministers hailed "record" achievements at GCSE, was condemned yesterday by examiners and teachers, who said it would invite ridicule.

Roger Porkess, a mathematician who designs syllabuses, said: "It really is the most dreadful mess. The new GCSE has replaced one problem with a whole new set of other problems." Kevin Evans, a maths teacher, said: "I have picked up concerns from teachers that people moving on to A-level who have got a grade B have very weak knowledge."

Perhaps the educational establishment have been mastering the techniques detailed by Griffe in this post.

Posted by TangoMan at 08:18 PM