I have lost count of the number of times we have been informed of problems with exam results. They have either been the result of exams that are too easy, or too hard. This year some have apparently been marked incorrectly and there is a lot of fuss over whether or not the results should be changed.
Does it matter?
In the 1950s the exam system was very different. At the age of 11 all pupils took the 11 Plus. You either passed, or didn’t. If you failed you were educated at a Secondary Modern, Grammar School was the result if you passed. Was it that simple?
At the time it was apparently more important for a boy to pass the exam than a girl. There were quotas to reach – X numbers of boys and Y numbers of girls. Many boys failed, some by just a few points. This meant that quotas weren’t met. Conversely many girls passed, but there were no places for them. A system was introduced called ‘Second Chance’. Miraculously boys passed and girls failed. Quotas were satisfied. No fuss. No chance of argument. In fact, no-one knew until many years later.
Did it matter?
Frankly, from this distance it didn’t, but I’m sure that many of you will have a different opinion. I know a number of women who were victims of this unfair selection process and all have said that their lives have been fulfilled and satisfying. I know a number of women who went to Grammar School and regret that they weren’t able to investigate other skills that became apparent during their education. Some men grew up being channelled into jobs that they hated. Most men who were educated by that system couldn’t wait to retire.
So what do you think? Surely, if wide ranging education is available to all age groups everyone can reach their full potential in this ever changing world? The important thing is to make sure that education is affordable and available. I’d love to know what you think.