Thursday, November 30, 2006

This is QACA

Are A-Levels getting easier? That’s been the question that literally everybody in the entire world has been asking. Just to put a picture in your mind of the widespreadnessness of people asking that question; A seven year old boy from Brazil, in the middle of a conversation with his mum regarding Comfort Cooling, suddenly and spontaneously directly asked “Mum, Are A-Levels getting easier? Mum? Are they? Mum? Mum? Mum? Are they?“

Well the answer to this question has been given by the QCA (Qualifications and Curriculm Authority), another organisation that feels that the word “and” isn’t important enough for their acronym. I would sincerely like these anti-conjunction-recogniser snobs to survive without this word. “Can I have Fish Chips please?” What you want chips made out of fish? Get out of my Fish And Chips Shop (FACS) you food mutating perverts! Anyway they’ve been working on the problem of A-levels, which are now officially recognised in their level of being easier as “Than when I was a child and we used to have to amuse ourselves”. Their solution is simple, they are going to make the questions more “stretching”!

More important than stretching questions, which I assume means either doubling the amount of words in the question, or maybe just using a wider font; they are going to smack the bare arse of the problem that too many people get A-Grades. And to my great relief they’ve chosen the classic nonsensical national method of rectifying the 'too-easiness' of qualifications: They're creating a new higher grade by adding a "*" to the end of the current highest one.

It’s Spinal Tap at the QCA. I assume the fictional character Nigel Tufnel must already be working there, swapping his amp that went up to eleven with deciding how to stretch A-Levels. So if Marty DiBergi did his documentary on the QCA and not a fictional rock band, the classic conversation would have gone like this:

Nigel Tufnel: The A-levels all go to A*. Look, right across the board, A*, A*, A* and..
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And the old A-Levels went up to A?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it's a higher grade? Is it any better?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it's one better, isn't it? It's not A. You see, most blokes, you know, will be getting an A. You're on A* here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on A* on your A-Level. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don't know.
Nigel Tufnel: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if they get that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Give them an A*?
Nigel Tufnel: A*. Exactly. One better.
Marty DiBergi: Why don't you just make A better and make A be the top mark and make that a little harder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause] These go to A*.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Umm there's a lot of thought provoking ideas here. It may take me a while to gain my view point - watch this space