This story about the A-level results reminds me of the old East German elections which showed a higher and higher number of citizens voting for the Socialist Unity Party every year that passed.
Apparantly 95.4% of pupils now pass their A-levels. Though wary of succumbing to the so-called British disease of knocking success I do have to question whether the results reflect a real increase in the brain-power of the nation’s youth.
I say this as someone who regularly interviewed junior lawyers for posts at a large firm of solicitors in the city. The applicants all generally had three A grade A-levels but it was clear to me that some of them were an awful lot smarter than others. The difference was actually quite startling despite the candidates all possessing the same A-level results and caused me a certain amount of confusion.
Of course people possess different types of intelligence and A-levels don’t neccessarily reflect that fact but it does seem fair to conclude that there has been a process whereby it is now impossible to measure the relative level of academic success achieved by students who attended school in each of the last three decades.
Harry Wales is a case in point. He might have got a place at a good university with a B and a D in the 1960’s. With A-level inflation being what it is I suspect there’s no choice but to deposit him in the army without the traditional scholarly interlude.