Record A-level results draw fresh criticism

18-08-2006

Record A-level results draw fresh criticism
A-level results out this morning revealed another record year with the number of A grades up by 24 per cent.

But while students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland celebrate their success, there has been fresh criticism of the exam system.

Questions have been asked over whether A-levels are providing employers and universities the skills they need.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph today, CBI director general Richard Lambert warned that despite improvements in the overall performance of A-level students the UK is still facing an acute skills gap.

"Even if the government meets its existing targets, Britain will still be facing a serious shortfall of skills at all levels of education in the years ahead," he said.

This concern is shared by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), with its director general telling the Today programme this morning that A-levels are "no longer fit for purpose".

"Employers are still saying to us that too many young people are coming out of school unprepared for the world of modern work, lacking the core skills, maths and English, team working, communication skills and initiative," he added.

The BCC has advocated the introduction of a baccalaureate to replace A-level exams.

So far, the government has stopped short of scrapping A-levels altogether, but is considering a number of reforms including the introduction of a new 'super A' or 'A star' grade.

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