Letter:Testing time

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The Independent Online
Sir: There's nothing new in the search for an examination which tests would-be higher education applicants across a range of useful non- specialist skills ("New examination system set to boost A-level pass rate", 5 August). The Joint Matriculation Board offers an Advanced Level General Studies paper which examines literacy, numeracy, comprehension skills, essay-writing, and a modern language.

Most A-level entrants of reasonable competence passed this examination during the period 1975-1986 when I was working in schools. It could appropriately be made an essential requirement for the 18- year-old entrant to university.

CHRISTINE HODGSON

London E7

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