I don't normally make two consecutive posts about our CIE results, but this year there are a few observations that I feel bound to bring to your attention. As I mentioned last week, ours are pretty much as they were in 2015, with our percentage of A*-B grades reaching 90% for the first time. The extent of this achievement was brought home to me over the past week when I read in the UK press that the British figure is only 28%. Now I know that we are a profoundly selective college and only the best students get to study here whereas in the UK, anyone who achieves a reasonable set of results at IGCSE is encouraged to go on to take A levels. However, set against that must also be the acknowledgment that most KYUEM students have to operate in a foreign language (English), whereas the Brits are doing it all in their mother tongue.
The graphic above shows how in Britain the percentage of A grades has been steadily falling (by a small percentage, admittedly) since 2011, while conversely, ours have been getting better, year on year. I must admit that this has worried me slightly, in that it's bound to peak at some point, through no fault of our students or their teachers. In addition, there are some results at KYUEM that can only either hold their own or go down! I am thinking specifically of the small number of students who took Marine Science at AS level last year and A2 in 2016. In both cases, the A*-B success rate was 100% with two students getting Cambridge "Best in World" last year. This is as close to perfection as we can reasonably expect to achieve.
Another thing I have noticed this year is that several of our students who just failed to make their predicted grades have still received offers from their chosen places of study. This has included prestigious universities such as Cambridge, UCL, Queen Mary College London and Warwick. One of the reasons for this has got to be that British students are getting poorer grades than anticipated and we are being given more places as a result. That's why I have entitled this post Winners & Losers. Currently, it seems that we are in the former category and we need to make the most of it while it lasts.
This week, IGCSE results were released in Britain. They, too, have fallen - and by a bigger margin than their A2 equivalent. Regular readers of this blog will know that I have previously commented on the political influence on IGCSE, AS and A2 grades. We are again seeing direct evidence of this in the tighter marking being imposed. Critics have been saying for some time that the examinations were too "easy" and so politicians (of various hues) have been keen to show that are doing something about it.
I tend to be a bit sceptical about this kind of thing. We would, I suspect, be more concerned if UK politicians interfered with doctors in the same way they seem keen to advise teachers. The cynic in me often notes that certain people think they are education experts simply because they attended school once upon a time. There is no equivalent experience likely to affect the professionalism of our colleagues in Medicine, Engineering or Law. While we are not able to interact significantly with the political process, we must at least make sure we're fully aware of what is going on with a watchful eye on any future implications that lie in store for us.
So, that appears to be that for another year - again a very successful one for KYUEM. It only remains for me to encourage all this year's juniors and seniors to work hard on their AS and A2 exams next semester. The time will come around sooner than many of them can imagine.