Letter: League tables distort exam results

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The Independent Online
Sir: Unlike driving tests, which are set to establish an absolute level of competency, I believe that A-level examinations should be a measure of a candidate's ability relative to his or her peers. After all, candidates are competing with their peers for educational and employment opportunities.

The current A-level grading system in England and Wales appears to measure absolute ability against a fixed performance benchmark. Unless this is changed, improving educational standards driven by increasing competition will inevitably lead to higher and higher pass rates. Differentiating candidates' performance will thus become increasingly difficult, devaluing the qualifications themselves. The same proportion of pupils sitting an A-level examination should be awarded each grade regardless of whether educational standards are rising or falling.

SIMON HARRISON

Edinburgh

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