Letter: UK ill served by book-learning

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Sir: Simon Harrison (Letters, 16 August) misses the point when he writes that examination candidates are competing for opportunities. This is true, but it does not mean that the examinations themselves form the competition.

An academic qualification is meant to show an individual's proficiency. In this respect, they are more like driving tests. Fixed thresholds between grades mean that employers and universities are able to ascertain the level of proficiency they would expect of a candidate who achieves a given grade. If an employer or higher education establishment is swamped with applicants who make the grades, they can always raise the minimum qualifications required, or look for other less measurable qualities in candidates: aspects of character which are every bit as important as academic qualifications.

ALEXANDER MACFIE

Abergavenny, Gwent

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