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Are children getting dumber?

While Britain's annual exam standards row rages on, the most important question is ignored: what should our children learn?

By Donald Hirsch   June 2009

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The familiar sounds of an early English summer are with us once again. Millions of children sit down to Sats, GCSEs, AS-levels, A-levels and a host of lesser exams, and the argument over educational standards starts. Depending on whom you listen to, we should either be letting up on over-examined pupils by abolishing Sats, and even GCSEs, or else making exams far more rigorous.

The chorus will reach a crescendo when GCSE and A-level results are published in August. If pass rates rise again, commentators will say that standards are falling because…

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