Education has always caused heated debates and one of the most divisive has been whether examinations are getting easier. They are, according to the he exams regulator Ofqual, in a survey of GCSE and A-level exam papers from the last ten years.
Ofqual reviewed biology, chemistry and geography A-levels, and biology and chemistry GCSEs from 2001 to 2010, the Guardian reports. The review found that the more recent papers have become less demanding, with fewer essay questions and more multiple-choice questions. The A-levels also gave pupils less opportunities to analyse and interpret complex data. Ofqual has admitted that the review raises concerns about the maintenance of standards and that they will consider what lessons need to be learnt.
The DfE said that the review shows that not enough is being demanded from students and that they aren’t being asked to demonstrate ‘real depth and breadth of knowledge’.
Ofqual’s Chief Executive, Glenys Stacey, admitted that the value of GCSEs and A-levels has been undermined because of ‘persistent grade inflation’ the Telegraph reports. She warned that wholesale changes need to be made to exams to restore public confidence, including a return to the traditional A-level where exams are taken at the end of the course.
Last month a Cambridge Assessment survey of over 600 lecturers found that just over half of them think that A-levels no longer prepare students for university.