Minister defends A-levels as pass rates rise again

The government has defended A-levels amid calls for the system to be updated to reflect young people’s wider needs.

Schools minister Andrew Adonis said this year’s results, with an overall pass rate of 96.2%, were “a reflection of the hard work of our young people and the rising standards of teaching in our schools and colleges”.

But National Union of Teachers general secretary Steve Sinnott said the existing system was in need of reform, “not as a result of any dumbing down, but because of the changing demands of modern society”.

Referring to the government’s rejection of Tomlinson’s proposals, Sinnott added: “It is a pity that Lord Adonis appears to rule out the diploma option. That is very short-sighted.”

Instead, Adonis said the government remained committed to A-levels and intended to embed harder questions within them to increase stretch in the system. Breakdowns of students’ individual scores would also be made available to universities from 2007 to help them distinguish between applicants, he added.

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