Sunday, August 22, 2004

Education in the UK

The annual fallout over grade inflation continues. Matthew D'ancona in the Telegraph and Chris Woodhead in the Sunday Times. If the A-level currency continues to be devalued, employers and universities will increasingly evaluate employees and applicants by other means, some for better - some for worse. Perhaps this will be fairer, however this is defined, but it is another example of unintended consequences: it might be thought that it is a good thing if everyone does better, but if this results in evaluation by potentially obscure methods or reversion to old-boy networks or some such, the experiment or whatever it is to be called, has certainly backfired. Woodhead cites researchers at the maths department at Coventry University who concluded that a failure at A-level in the early 1990s is equivalent to a grade B now. That cannot be a good thing.

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