Letter: E for effort

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As in previous summers, anyone venturing misgivings about school examination standards is greeted by an indignant chorus about how much hard work the candidates put in. What has hard work got to do with it? Standards are about discriminating between levels of ability, not rewarding diligence.

There is a widespread refusal in education circles to think clearly about what qualifications are for: are they certificates of ability, good conduct badges to make people feel good about themselves, or, in the case of post-16, outdoor relief for the unemployable? It should be strictly a sheep-and-goats business. I suspect it suits the Secretary of State for Education, and others, to leave the whole question in obscurity.

Peter Lloyd

Ludlow, Shropshire