Students 'taught how to pass exams not how to think'

A-levels
Have students been taught how to pass exams but not how to think? Photo: PA

Here's a multiple choice question to start your morning.

If A-level passes are at a record high with thousands of pupils clutching armfuls of A grades, why are so many university lecturers having to adapt their first year classes and provide assistance on essay writing, spelling and grammar?

Is it:

a) They have nothing better to do?

b) To keep new students out of the bars?

c) Because students have been taught how to pass exams but not how to think?

Congratulations if you answered 'c'. You don't need a remedial class.

A-levels
A-level passes are at a record high but university lecturers having to adapt their first year classes

A recent poll of University lecturers showed nearly three quarters had to help first year students prepare for academic life and they have found their champion in Education Secretary Micheal Gove. He wants to hand power back to the dons to re-design the A-level exams to make them more challenging, and relevant and he wants it done soon.

I think we can hear the sound of "last orders" being called for modules, resits and the controversial AS level exams which have meant students have to take three sets of public exams one after the other.

And any changes to A-levels will undoubtedly trickle down to GCSEs and even primary education.

The Department of Education has said we need a "robust, rigorous and relevant" exam system (which shows good mastery of the 3 R's there!) to keep pace with the universities demands.

A-levels
A recent poll of University lecturers showed nearly three quarters had to help first year students prepare for academic life

While there will no doubt be pupils, parents and certainly teachers who dread the thought of more change, the new system is likely to produce pupils who think " outside the box".

I can't have been the only parent whos child was told "Please don't use your imagination. You have to be boring to pass exams". Admittedly in respose to a German oral question about his favourite Christmas present, he had replied, "thermal underwear" but at least he had learnt some German!

The changes, after some consultation, could affect those taking A-levels in 2016