October 2017
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Are Britain’s dumbed-down exams a national joke?

Much has been written about whether Britain’s exams have become easier over the years. Teachers, of course, deny this. But the evidence suggests our exams are laughably simple. In an English GCSE (for 15 to 16 year-olds) pupils were asked to “Describe a place you do not like” and to remember to “Choose the place carefully”: “Describe the place in detail”: “Make clear why you do not like it”. Seems easier than writing an essay on the characterisation in Macbeth! As for maths, here’s a sample question where you have to match simple fractions with simple percentages. The exam board even does the first one for you. I rest my case. Yet even with these pathetically easy questions, over half of all children cannot get a decent grade. What the h–l are our teachers doing?

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