Letter: A-level status

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The Independent Online
Sir: Sir Bryan Nicholson's claim that the overwhelming majority of students doing General National Vocational Qualifications would pass will do nothing to ensure that the new qualification will match, as it is hoped, A-levels in status ('Vocational course seeks reputation to match A-level', 14 July).

A-levels enjoy widespread esteem for many reasons. One of them is that the examiners are quite prepared to fail more than a quarter of those who enter for them. Another is that the pass rate does not appear to be determined in advance according to criteria that have nothing to do with the merit of the candidates.

Yours faithfully,


Principal, D'Overbroeck's


14 July