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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 01:28 GMT
Parents 'have faith in exam system'
pupils writing
Few students worry about being teased for being studious
Parents have confidence in the exam system, a survey suggests, despite claims that pass rates are rising because exams are getting easier.

Among parents questioned for a poll, 84% said they had a "great deal" or a "fair amount" of confidence in the exam system.

The sense of confidence was shared by teachers (82%) and students (75%), according to research carried out in England and Wales by the MORI Social Research Institute on behalf of the examination board Edexcel.

But parents, teachers and pupils believe children's academic achievements are being overlooked because of claims that exams are being "dumbed-down".

Inferior

Students themselves say the claims make them feel annoyed, disappointed, worried and inferior.

Half of parents (51%) and nearly two-thirds of teachers (53%) believe the media does not recognise students' achievements at exam results time.

More than three in five parents (62%) say exam results have improved in the past 10 years because students are working harder.

A quarter thought results had improved because exams were getting easier.


Our students are working harder than ever and they think it's good to work hard

John Kerr, Edexcel
Teachers were less likely (45%) to say standards had improved through children's hard work.

Fiona Johnson, of the MORI Social Research Institute, said: "Our findings indicate high levels of confidence in the exam system amongst its key stakeholders - teachers, students and their parents.

"Motivated young people are working hard - probably, in fact, harder than ever - and our respondents strongly believe that it's this, rather than any 'dumbing down', which accounts for their success."

The survey contradicts the perception that teenagers do not think it is cool to study and worry about being considered nerdy if they are studious.

Teased

Among GCSE students questioned, three-quarters (75%) said they would not be teased by friends if they were seen to work hard at school.

Among pupils studying for AS-levels, the figure rose to 86%.

The chief executive of Edexcel, John Kerr, said: "This poll confirms what many of us in the education sector already believe - that our students are working harder than ever and they think it's good to work hard.

"This is one of the most extensive studies of its kind of students, teachers and parents.

"Commitment to qualifications across all these groups is extremely encouraging."

For the poll, MORI questioned more than 2,500 students, teachers and parents in England and Wales between February and August this year.

See also:

18 Oct 01 | Education
Exams 'not easier'
16 Aug 01 | Education
So are A-levels getting easier?
24 Aug 00 | Education
Testing the generation gap
24 Aug 01 | Education
An A-level in four lessons
23 Aug 01 | Education
GCSE grades rise again
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