So I saw this today, and it kind of frustrated me. I've become used to the standard stories every July and August of how A-levels are too easy, how they don't really mean anything any more, and how the youth of today are probably stupider than previous generations. These stories, of course, come out just when students are receiving their results, so that, at the moment when they should feel proudest of themselves, they are told that their achievements should carry an asterisk.
[Gove] said he wanted to switch emphasis back to examinations taken at the end of two years of study in order to revive "the art of deep thought".
Really Michael? The art of Deep Thought? Now I have no idea what that phrase means, but I'm guessing you want it to mean 'students being able to write long essays in three hour exams potentially two years after they studied the topic the question is about'. Which to me, seems a little silly.
Regular examinations encourage you to stay on top of your learning. Modular exams allow you to focus on one topic at a time, and thus to study it in more depth. One exam at the end of two years encourages you to kick back and do nothing for those years, and then cram in a mad panic. Of course, if that's what you mean by Deep Thought, I suppose that's fine.
But hang on, Mr Gove says:
"We need to ensure that the knowledge expected of A-level students is such that they can hit the ground running (at university) and they don't need, as some have suggested, four-year courses or catch-up tuition"His argument is that we should make A-Levels more like university exams, so that people are more prepared for university. That makes sense I suppose... until you realise that universities have exams at the end of every year, not every two! Added to the fact that many universities are moving to, yes, a modular system, and you start to wonder whether Mr Gove knows what on Earth he is talking about. Where are these universities that have two years between exams?
Oh, I see. Well, good to know where our priorities lie, right?