LETTERS
Exams aren’t as easy as A,B,C

MANY thanks to columnist Gita Conn for asking us to remember those who did not gain As in their school exams.

Man and boy, I saw four changes to the OL, GCE/CSE and GCSE exams.

And last week’s Any Questions/Answers exposed that although all the panel and questioners had sat exams, maybe one had marked or ranked them.

There was indignation that pass marks should be 50 per cent or that results be published as the percentage of the marks gained.

Both these numbers are movable feasts that depend on the purpose of the exam.

The best image of an exam is a race — whether horses, cyclists or on the road. You have the leaders, about two-thirds in the central pack and the tail.

The leaders and tail will be a sixth each and the central pack should also halve evenly to bestride “average” — itself a variable.

Most think of the “mean” but pay talks are around the “median” (half way between the lowest and highest). Then there is the mode or biggest sub-group as in fashion’s “a la mode”. This is why we moved from straight percentage results in the 50s to grades because too many applicants were being told to resit for an extra five per cent or even three per cent.

If you are training a large group in basic skills, you need a test and mark scheme with a high pass mark.

And as it is not rocket science, expect 85 per cent of the entry, leaders and central pack to clear the hurdle.

The purpose is to check on the teaching and find those who need extra training to be of use.

If you are picking candidates for some specialist and complex task, then the pass is going to be lower so that all who have studied conscientiously get some reward and certified a certain competence, while the top grades can be more discriminating to indicate promise as in firsts for outstanding graduates.

Frank Adam,
Prestwich,
Manchester.

E-MAIL: letters@jewishtelegraph.com
Full names and addresses must accompany letters and will be published unless correspondents specify otherwise.

Publication of all letters is subject to our terms for submission of works to us (past and present), namely that, if your letter is used:
1. Letters may be edited in the interests of space. Please restrict your letter to 200 words.
2. Anonymity will be in exceptional circumstances and at editor’s discretion.
3. A daytime telephone number is also necessary for checking the authenticity of your letter.
4. The Jewish Telegraph and those authorised by it have the world-wide assignable right to use your work in any publication or service in whatever media (e.g. CD Rom, newspapers, online etc).
5. The Jewish Telegraph may further allow others to store/distribute your letter.
Data Protection Act: your name and address is collected for the limited purpose of validating correspondence by the Jewish Telegraph.

Site developed & maintained by
MICHAEL PAYSDEN/FIREIMAGE
© 2017 Jewish Telegraph
www.JewishTelegraph.com