Exams – Dumbing Down or Wising Up?

Students and staff swap schools to see their different approaches Are standards slipping in traditional subjects? Has the popularity of applied and creative subjects led to ‘dumbing down’? A staff and student swap between two contrasting schools helps explore the debate.

According to the critics, exams in ‘academic’ subjects, like chemistry, are easier than they used to be, and there are ‘softer’ subjects, such as media studies, that are less demanding and more likely to lead to higher grades.

But is this really the case? The argument is explored through an exchange between two contrasting schools: the Brit Performing Arts and Technology School and the Grammar School for Girls in Wilmington. Students and staff spend a day in each other’s school to explore whether there is a difference in difficulty between the two approaches.

Contributiors also include Richard Pike (Royal Society of Chemistry), Dennis Opposs (Ofqual), Ralph Levinson (Institute of Education), and Julie Henry (Sunday Telegraph).

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