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A-level playing field
Schools uniform as pupils tie for top grades
Exit polls suggest that this summer’s A-level results are the highest since Roman times. Examiners forecast that 100% of pupils will achieve three qualifications at grades A*–A by 2027, with a special B grade reserved for the most moronic script in each subject, unless urgent action is taken.
However, the universally astronomical A-level grades have hit one group hard: those who didn’t get them. Six pupils have been battling each other online for each last-minute university place in the UCAS ‘clearing’ scheme. ‘It’s tough out there,’ explained UCAS chief Francis Bargle, ‘And I have the following advice for students hoping to get a place through clearing: you’re too late.’
The slew of good results has been accompanied by the usual rash of negative stories in the press. ‘People have a tendency to focus on teenagers’ shortcomings,’ psychologist Marvin Wilcox explained, ‘Especially when those shortcomings actually belong to the adults designing the exam system. I mean, how hard can it be to design A-levels that make kids look at least as stupid as we did? Our failure to manage that means the only option left is to denigrate them until we feel superior.’
Targeted tabloid outrage was reserved for ‘self-appointed elite institutions we didn’t go to’, with narrowsheets interviewing such stereotypes as Claire Timkins, who achieved seventeen A-grade A-levels, but publicly lamented her failure to get a place at Oxbridge. ‘Hnnnnaarrghh! I like Weetos!’ she bellowed at KTAB News. ‘Sorry,’ she drooled, ‘I don’t interview well.’
Looking for long-term trends of grade inflation, palaeoexamologists extracted A-level results tables from ice cores below exam board headquarters. They found that levels of atmospheric hyperbole have not been this high for 10,000 years, and also unearthed a satirical papyrus mocking the ubiquitous appearance of attractive girls collecting A-levels in the mainstream press, proving that the joke is only 10% less cliché than the practice itself.
A government bill has been tabled by Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and the Environment, which would legally oblige Britain to reduce A-level grades to 80% of 1975 levels by 2050, except for those achieved under a limited set of exceptions, such as papers completed using pens, or completed by students at private schools.