Making champions

November 29, 2002

Ian Gibson writes that "it is an unwritten rule that you can only have so many firsts and 2:1s", so perpetuating the confusion between performance and standards to which Michael Tomlinson draws our attention in his report on A-level grading this year (US grading to edge out firsts, THES , November 15).

World and Commonwealth records tumbled at the recent Commonwealth Games that were held in Manchester, as they have done at every international athletics meeting since the original Greek Olympics. Performances at Manchester were at yet another all-time high.

Have we somehow made international athletics easier? Have we lowered the standards?

Of course not, the athletes have got better, not least because of much improved training.

Why can't we accept the same reason for improved performance in other areas of education and training?

John Tarrant
Vice-chancellor
University of Huddersfield

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