Monday, October 15, 2007

Falling Standards

Over recent years there's been much discussion about how much easier educational examinations have become. I've never had a firm opinion about this - even if I have thought there to be a fundamental arrogance involved in claims by students and the teaching profession that our generation is cleverer than previous generations. Today's Telegraph gave me the chance to judge for myself.

On page 6 there were 5 sample questions for Oxford's Politics, Philosophy and Economics Admission Test. The first two questions required answers that were subjective, but the next three demanded straight forward, right or wrong answers. So I tackled them 'against the clock'. They took me 5 minutes and 20 seconds. I then tackled the 'Gentle' Sudoku on page 24 (which is really for beginners) . This took me 5 minutes and 40 seconds. I did feel in quite good form today but I reckon No 2 Son, Patrick would have polished them off in less than 4 minutes. So that's it - official. Oxford's admission tests are easier than a beginner's sudoku.

Now I accept that this is not an entirely scientific assessment - but it certainly makes you think. I would have expected an Oxford Admission Test to be a bit more challenging than this.

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