O levels were replaced by GCSEs in order to accommodate a greater proportion of the age cohort. The Government assured the employers that there was no erosion of standards. Similarly, we are assured that advanced GNVQs are no easier than A levels.
It is surprising, then, that Eric Forth, the minister for higher education, should now express concern that degree standards may be slipping because of a redefinition of the nature of a degree in order to accommodate a much larger proportion of the age cohort within higher education (THES, December 29). In so far as he was convinced by his ministerial colleagues' earlier reassurances, he should be reassured that "standards" are being maintained.
David Packham School of materials science University of Bath