Wednesday, 25 August 2010

GCSE in Wales the Today programm get a B

The Today programme yesterday when reporting on the GCSE results, chose to spend some time on the fact that figures show 66.4% of pupils in Wales received A* to C grades, compared to 69.1% for all of the UK. (In which they mean England and Northern Ireland).

They then dispatched a reporter to Port Talbot who interviewed a Head master who suggested that social deprivation or la funding gap could be responsible for this 2.7% difference.

Now I don’t have any problem with the facts are they are, but am I’m being paranoid in thinking that the BBC news in London ,and the Today programme in particular have a informal policy of only portraying Wales negatively?

This often seems to be the case can anyone point to any positive reporting on Wales coming from the Today programme.

But to go back to this Gap in grades why not ask the obvious question.

Are examinations in Wales harder?

There are 5 Exam boards conducting GCSE

AQA

CCEA

Edexcel

OCR

WJEC

Scotland of course (at least I realise it unlike the BBC and Today programme) has a different system and Exam Board

Of the of 5 however  the WJEC is by far the largest in Wales and there it could easily be possible that their standards are higher certainly within a 3% margin.

Perversely I admit  of course they could have lower standards and the gap could be actually larger.

However I do not know what the truth is, but surely this should be considered when looking at the figures and a few simple questions could be asked.including

Why do schools choose different exam boards? Could it because some have a better pass rate? Thereby increasing the schools own stats?

Do Universities take into account the Exam Board when judging applications based on their interpretation  on the degree of hardness of the curriculum of the different boards?

It would be interesting to see if there were any studies of this.
I leave you with another thought.

Looking at all the reports and pictures of pupils receiving their results. It seems that only attractive people get high marks. I received only 3 O’levels from Pontypridd Boys Grammar School clearly the reason was not my own lethargy or lack of learning but I was an (and still am) ugly sod.

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