A Level results

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Neilds

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What are people's thought on these this year? Apparently there has been a 75% rise in the amount of A and A* grades since 2019 (last time exams were taken). Given that they would have been home schooled for the majority of the school year and had numerous disruptions for CV-19, should the results be this high? Are we setting the kids up to fail by giving them false expectations for University and will they struggle with high levels of dropouts?
I have no children and never did A levels myself, went straight into RAF on a Apprenticeship so may not be the best to judge this but I can't see how these high grades are possible after the past year or so. I would be interested to hear from anyone with first hand experience to see how these grades were reached, were they assessed on the whole syllabus or just what they actually managed to finish?
PS = Please do not lower this thread into the "Exams were much harder in my day" argument.
 

Papas1982

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Whilst not at A level age. I've had to help with home schooling my two kids 10 and 11.

Imo their education (academically at least) has suffered, so I agree, I don't see how they've improved again.
 

chrisd

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I think that one of the problems is that this years exam students would be seriously disadvantaged if they were not marked according to their possible attainment as IF they had attended school in the traditional sense etc etc. Homework may be well be under their possible level if their parents didnt help, they didnt have wifi, distractions at home from other family members etc etc - imo if they over mark them, time will be a correcting factor. However, I'm not, and have never been in the educational field so could be writing nonsense.
 

spongebob59

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Will see more people going to Uni to rack up a load of debt on a useless degree.
One's that are overgraded may struggle and fail to complete the course.
Or maybe everything will be rosy, who knows.
 

GB72

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Not the fault of the entrants this year but covid has given them a disadvantage. As an employer, would I look at the results of applicants who took their A levels in 2021 in the same way as I would someone who actually sat the exams pre pandemic, in all honesty, probably not.
 

Ethan

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I feel bad for A level students. They have had a difficult time and the pressures and uncertainties of the future are enormous. A lot will be disappointed not to get into courses they thought they would make.

It used to be a simpler time. When I was a lad, I applied for medicine, got an offer (standard offer from QUB was BBB then), no interview, no need to show time spent working in developing countries, just get the grades and get in to Uni. No fees for tuition, even git a grant (council house family, us). If we had to take out a loan back then, I don't think I would have gone to Uni. It is easy to say that it is an investment in future earnings, don't have to pay it off until you get to a certain earning level, but some families don't like to take on even notional debit unless they are sure they can pay it.

I wouldn't recommend medicine now to my boys, it is not the career it used to be. If scientifically minded, I would look at genetics or molecular biology, looking at how to understand better how cancer or neurodegenerative diseases work and how to beat them.

I don't agree with those who say that school has been dumbed down and modern students don't have the skills we oldies used to have. But equally I don't agree that standards have shot up in the way grades suggest they have. It might make more sense if grades were capped at certain percentages - top 5% get A*, next 10 get A etc, at least they would be comparable year to year.
 

spongebob59

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I don't agree with those who say that school has been dumbed down and modern students don't have the skills we oldies used to have. But equally I don't agree that standards have shot up in the way grades suggest they have. It might make more sense if grades were capped at certain percentages - top 5% get A*, next 10 get A etc, at least they would be comparable year to year.
Far to sensible.
The knock from this will go on for years as each tranche of students that have missed years of schooling come through the system.
Something needs to change.
 
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It must have been devastating for the students caught up in the pandemic and they have faced challenges not seen before.

However, for 45% of grades to be at A* and A does raise some questions in my mind about the quality of the appraisals and the consistency of the moderation process.

Given the disruption and reduced classroom time, you would expect attainment to be lower than in previous years. There is no valid reason to suggest that 2021 students are so much brighter than those from previous years.

Surely, as suggested above there should be some kind of distribution curve.

Trying not to be cynical but do teachers not have a vested interest in their students acheiving higher grades. They are also in the unenviable position of having to face parents and students who know the teacher decided the grade not a faceless examination board.

The numbers going to University are far too high and there are not enough jobs available that really require degree level qualifications.
 
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Of course…silly me…it’s the teachers trying to make themselves look good. Obvious really…🙄

What needs to change is the idea that a uni degree education is in some way better than a non-uni non-degree education; that somehow one is a ‘higher’ level of education than the other. Do not elevate uni education and denigrate other forms of further duration.

Go to uni for a purpose, go for your own reasons, not just because your pals, peers, parents or school think it’s the right thing for you, or indeed the right thing for the school or the parents. I fell into that trap…and it took me four years to bale out of what I went to uni to study…to:change to do something I actually really wanted to do, what I was strong at, and that I had a good chance of doing well.

Why did it take so long? Summed up in two words - Confusion and Fear. It took me to grow up a bit to build the courage to admit to myself and others that I had been doing the wrong thing in the wrong place, that it wasn’t for me. But even then it took a great chunk of luck for the door to swing open through which I could see what I wanted to do, the door out of where I’d gone. Not everyone has such luck.
 

Imurg

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A big factor is that there has been no "Exam Freeze"
No pressure of that all or nothing 2 hours sat at a table in a hall full.
Had it at O levels..a guy in my class was always top 5 in most things through the years.
Got to O levels and his brain just froze..left school with next no qualifications..
 

SocketRocket

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Not the fault of the entrants this year but covid has given them a disadvantage. As an employer, would I look at the results of applicants who took their A levels in 2021 in the same way as I would someone who actually sat the exams pre pandemic, in all honesty, probably not.
If I were considering a new Graduate or non Graduate candidate for employment their academic achievement alone wouldn't get them a job, I would be more interested in their attitude to work and that something about them that is difficult to describe but you instinctively know whether they have it: a mixture of enthusiasm, personality and ability to think for themselves. The best high level software developer I employed was someone who dropped out of Uni in their first year and worked as a Roofer for a couple of years, I met him while visiting his Father who had a small Engineering company and his Son had created some complex parametric 3D surface models for him, I gave him a job and he became a massive attribute to our company.

Sorry to rabbit on a bit but if these kids are good this current situation shouldn't hold them back from achieving what their true potential.
 

Hobbit

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I rejoice in the fact that so many have done so well. They need the boost, and good luck to them. No doubt the uni clearing houses are working flat out to accommodate them onto courses and, again, good luck to them.

Long term they will be competing against people that qualified under different pressures etc. That won’t be a problem foe employers. Even now employers have lovely concentric graphs that show what HND/C/ degree etc is ‘worth’ attained at different times.

But in the meantime, well done and crack on kids.
 

harpo_72

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It’s a long game, every one thinks A levels are a defining moment but in the end they are just something that happens along the way. There are lots of incredibly gifted people who have what are deemed to be poor grades or don’t have them, who do extremely well. What the education system is trying to do is look after lots of variables with a single strategy and it captures a high percentage .. but lots are let down as well.
I don’t really bother with grades today’s A is maybe a C from yesteryear given we have A** A* and A … who knows but soft subjects for academic industries are always ignored and that’s the way the selection process occurs .. then it’s work hard, get a skill and earn from that skill.
 

PhilTheFragger

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A big factor is that there has been no "Exam Freeze"
No pressure of that all or nothing 2 hours sat at a table in a hall full.
Had it at O levels..a guy in my class was always top 5 in most things through the years.
Got to O levels and his brain just froze..left school with next no qualifications..
Didn’t know you had brain freeze 🤭🤔
 

Lord Tyrion

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Ah, remember last year when teachers told everyone they could be trusted to mark accurately and honestly........................🙄.

I feel sorry for the kids, it isn't their fault. The year has been messed up and now the results are OTT and will not be trusted. It will also be fun for the universities having to resolve over marked students rocking up in September.

Hopefully next year will be back to normal and credibility can return to the system.
 

D-S

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It will be interesting to see what happens next year and will we get an outcry if we have significant grade deflation?
However, if this level of inflation continues it won’t be long before there is little or no differentiation between the abilities of candidates (one of the key purposes of the system) and then what do we do?
 

Lord Tyrion

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It will be interesting to see what happens next year and will we get an outcry if we have significant grade deflation?
However, if this level of inflation continues it won’t be long before there is little or no differentiation between the abilities of candidates (one of the key purposes of the system) and then what do we do?
Here lies the big problem. Give everyone A or A*, how do universities or employers differentiate between candidates. Both will lose faith in the system and disregard the qualification. If it continues then more universities will require candidates to sit an entrance exam.

Bright kids have been penalised by these results.
 
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