Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Times sub must be having a dry day
Under the headline, "Three As no longer enough for university", we are treated to the sub-headline, "New elitism row over entrance to top colleges". Well gee TC, I thought "top colleges" were elitist by definition. And elitism—top rewards for top achievers—is a good thing, although the treatment of Gail Trimble from University Challenge suggests that this is not a popular view.This secular increase in exam grades to enter the top universities is exactly what has to happen in a system where bad standards drive out good (Scott Clark remarked upon grade inflation yesterday). Unless the government grasps this nettle and opens the doors of competition in exam-setting, standards will continue to drop like a stone, just as Gresham's Law predicts. It can be inverted, but only by doing what is right, rather than what is popular.