Advance to the next level
Hattie, 17, has a penchant for sarcasm, which she finds handy when debating. She's currently in sixth form and aims to complete an English Literature degree and then travel to America.
Hattie resents people who undermine the hard work she puts into her A-Level studies.
The government is there to improve society; I don't deny that. They are supposed to identify issues and make changes - that's their job. So obviously this includes making amendments to the education system and perhaps evaluating A-Levels and how well students are doing in them.
This usually wouldn't worry me. But I do take an interest when part of my life may be affected by the narrow-minded idiocies of a middle-aged man, Sir Peter Williams, who has forgotten that people under 18 are actual humans. A man who has decided that things are just not difficult enough for the youth. A man who seems to think A-levels need to be made harder, because anyone who has achieved an A up till now, well, they just had an easy time of it, didn't they? But here's the thing: A-Levels are not getting easier. And those of us who are currently studying for them are not getting an easy ride into higher education.
I've just completed my first year of A-Levels, so I feel my opinion on this subject is valid. What many critics either forget or don't seem to realise is that the transition from GCSEs to A-Levels is enormous. It's not a mere step up the ladder. It is more like a leap from a very large and comfortable rung, onto one 100 feet away, suspended in the air and extremely awkward to balance on. Statistics have said the number of As achieved by students has risen, but what consistently goes unmentioned is the high failure rate at the end of AS-Levels. Surely if students are ultimately achieving As it's because they have worked hard, not because the subject is easy?
Admittedly, one might say I'm angry because people are undermining my own efforts. And I do agree, but I'm not blind to the bigger picture. The most frustrating thing about the government's 'A-levels-are-easy' judgement is their misunderstanding of A-Levels. A-levels aren't simply about obtaining knowledge, they require a deep understanding of individual topics and in many cases a subjectivity that had not been necessary before. Many subjects are largely coursework based and require the student to develop their own approach to a topic.
"None of these self-righteous advisors, who possibly worry that the youth of today are blatantly more intelligent than them, are taking A-Levels."
But the most fundamental mistake is ignoring the fact that A-Levels are voluntary. Students don't do them unless they wish to. Exams are not there to single out the best and worst students, as they were in earlier years. A-Levels are a precursor to university and part of the deal is slogging through two years of focussed study.
Ultimately none of these self-righteous advisors, who possibly worry that the youth of today are blatantly more intelligent than them, are taking A-Levels. Asking students if they think A-Levels doesn't give you a biased response. Our ever increasing workload, a result of the constantly changing curriculum, leaves us with no time to waste on lying about our true feelings. Some might say that teachers themselves find the syllabus too easy, but the sixth form teachers that I am familiar with, Sir Peter Williams, do not agree with you either. In fact they suffer to an equal degree as a result of your ill-founded accusations.
I could, quite truthfully, find reason after reason to object to the assertion that A-Levels are getting easier, but I will say just one last thing. I'm insulted.
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