As is traditional at this time of year, many commentators are decrying the improved exam results achieved by our nation’s children, and accusing the exam bodies of “dumbing down”.  Can this really be true?  Are they coddling teenagers ever more each year, so that the poor dears don’t feel bad about themselves?  Maybe they are simply trying to show that teachers are doing a good job, by massaging the figures.

How about this though.  Maybe, just maybe, the teaching is getting better.  I have three boys, 21, 18 and 9, and have sat on school boards for their primary and secondary schools for the last 6 years.  What I have seen in this time, is that teaching methods are continually improving, new facilities and teaching aids being introduced, and the students are responding accordingly.

Additionally, and this shouldn’t be underestimated, the technology which kids can employ to push information into their little brains is accelerating at light speed.  I can’t help but imagine how much easier I would have found it to study in the early 80’s with the help of Microsoft, Google, Wikipedia (yes it’s actually more accurate than the Encyclopaedia Britannica), and the world wide frickin’ web!

So quite frankly, it’s really no surprise that children are getting increasingly better marks in exams.  The exams aren’t any easier, the kids aren’t inherently more clever, but the teaching is better, and the ability to find and absorb information is dramatically improved.

PS. I should point out that my experience is entirely of the Scottish education system.

SOURCE BBC: A-level passes have risen for the 29th year in a row as teenagers face an intense battle for university places.

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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