Polly Today

This is brazen. So, social mobility is rising it is claimed. Riiiiight. The evidence offered?

More poor pupils are getting five good GCSEs, thereby outdoing their parents.

Seriously, that\’s the only actual evidential claim she makes.

So, the dumbing down of exams is used as evidence that social mobility is increasing?

Please, can we at least try to be serious here, not grasp at any old straw?

9 thoughts on “Polly Today”

  1. Land value taxation?

    I think you misunderstand the report. It is that parental income is less of a guide to GSCE results than it was in 2000.

  2. Tim,

    Polly is right :

    With the present education system, ALL are dumbed down, thus making us all more equal. This is a success to be shouted about !

    Alan Douglas

  3. Actually,GCSE’s only really got started in 1988, so Polly Toynbee is bound to be right for the reason Mark Wadsworth gives. If you think the previous situation was better with the O-level goats being separated from the CSE sheep you have to be joking.At least nowadays everybody gets a crack at GCSE’s. The person responsible for this piece of impossibilist Utopianism was uber-Thatcherite Keith Joseph, if memory serves.
    Once again Timmy leaves the field with his lance bent after tangling with Polly T.

  4. As someone said recently, social mobility is about to increase dramatically. An awful lot of people are about to find themselves moving *down* the social ladder very quickly.

  5. “If you think the previous situation was better with the O-level goats being separated from the CSE sheep you have to be joking.”

    Sorting out the sheep from the goats is the entire point of any exam system. And the two tier exam system reflected two different course structures. It was necessary to give the option of a reduced syllabus for the weaker students, and give them a meaningful qualification. Something that would reassure a prospective employer that they would be able to compose a letter, or estimate a quantity of wallpaper.

    The students aren’t stupid. It takes a great deal of studied neglect and bad faith to turn out so many ignorant kids.

  6. I reckon that during my lifetime, the social stratum which has increased the most, is the welfare class. The offspring of middle class and working class families have moved into state benefits to a depressing degree. And they are doing it because we are training them to do it.

  7. @Monty
    I worked (full-time) for a year in a comprehensive before GCSE’s were intro’ed where the the kids were pre-selected into 0-level classes for the academic students or CSE classes for the “weaker” students,as you call them.There was something called” guided parental choice”, an Orwellian exercise where parents were told by teachers that the lower qualification was for their kids’ good. A lot of them said at the time that they wished that their kids could at least have a go at O level English and Maths.They were over-ruled in a literal teacher-knows best decision.
    Years later I taught in a Further Education Colllege where the attitude seemed to be ” if they pay the exam-entry fees they can do what they want” – a more market-driven arrangement,which did the place no favours as its O-level results compared unfavourably with schools that had pre-screened entrants. The same freedom extended to A level classes,including part-time evening-classes, where,perhaps surprisingly, the results were often stunningly good.
    The division of GCE and CSE was achieved without the willing compliance of the students and their parents.

  8. At my place most people did eleven or twelve O and AO levels (I did thirteen). Unfortunately due to being an idle toerag I only got nine ‘A’ grades.

    I had the misfortune about 15 years later to encounter students at BSc level who had been subjected to GCSEs and the newly dumbed-down A levels. It was to weep. And of course it’s been downhill since then.

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