Educational horror

The A*s! The A*s!
Well, it’s time for the A-level results. That means it’s time to bewail that yearly social inequity, the uneven distribution of As. The Observer leads with Public schools to take lion’s share of new A* grades. The A* tends to be awarded to pupils who get >90% (although I believe the exact figure varies). It seems that every year there’s the usual hand-wringing about middle class pupils at good schools getting the best results while working class pupils etc. This is often followed by the lack of girls doing science subjects or engineering. In both instances the argument seems to be that group X contains an insufficient number of group Y because someone said so. No one ever seems to ask whether group Y is desperate to be a part of group X, or observes that some members of group Y might not have a snowball’s chance of becoming part of group X.
As for our little darlings, I’ve already seen the provisional results, although I don’t think that applies to the IGCSE or AS-level exams. The results in English seem to be all right. Most of the students in PAL classes got Bs and Cs, which makes me suspect that I overestimated their performance by about a grade. There was a fairly even bell curve of the kind that I’ve come to expect, but there were quite a number of U grades, which is about as close to a fail as you can get, and none of the lucky winners in that category had me gaping like a retarded goldfish which cannot understand why it cannot pass beyond the bounds of its bowl.
I’m not sure what kind of IELTS level a B or C might correspond to, but perhaps 4.5 to 5.5 might be about the right range. In other words, most of the little dears have moderate competence at intermediate level, but they’re not really ready for lower advanced and never will be.
I note, though, that the PAL classes got more As in Business Studies, and as for Maths and Physics, those were a mass of A* and A grades. How frightfully middle class my little darlings must be. No, they’re just good at subjects for robots.
It rained today, though not much. Second time we’ve had rain since I got back to Wuxi from my holidays. I keep waiting for more, but what little we’ve had hasn’t amounted to much. The weather seems to be utterly topsy-turvy, the winter being wet and miserable while the summer has been dry and hot. At the time of writing, it’s been raining again and I can see people sheltering in the pavilion on the island. If the variations in the weather were a little more regular, I might not mind, but as much as I like sunshine and warm weather, a little variety wouldn’t go amiss.

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