On Thursday some students will find out their A level and As level grades, and next Thursday others will receive their GCSE grades. Most people agree that exams are not what they used to be, but how do
you say this without undermining what students have worked for (and alienate a group of voters we need to win over)?

Louise Bagshawe, who has submitted today’s policy idea, set an excellent example on Any Questions last weekend. A student asked what he should say when told that his A level results show that exams are getting too easy. Stephen Twigg droned on about how hard students work etc, but Louise gave a more considered answer:

  • Whether
    it’s popular or not, exams have been dumbed down and dumbed down disastrously,
    but you’ve worked very hard and I’m sure you’ll have done as well under a more
    rigorous system.
  • I’m afraid to say it is fact
    that educational standards are slipping.
  • Some
    universities are getting together to form their own entrance exams instead of
    the discredited GCSEs.
  • Entire
    GCSEs multiple choice – when I was at school that was called a CSE.
  • I believe
    students work very hard. It’s not the fault of students, I’m not knocking students
    – knocking the Dep of Ed government, knocking the people who writing the
  • We desperately
    need educational reform and hope the Tories will bring it in.

Put yourself in David Willett’s shoes, how would you phrase a Party statement on the issue?

The best 100 word entry might get a ConservativeHome mug one day.

Deputy Editor

76 comments for: How to articulate the dumbing-down of exams

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