Back in early June I wrote a newsletter titled, "at least I don't have to take a test tomorrow morning." I was quoting the protagonist of the Martin Amis novel Night Train who sees one happy trade off of not being young as never having to wake up to take another exam. I have to agree, never being any good at exams myself.
I did achieve a mediocre grade at A-level General Studies (yup, actually a subject) to the disgust of my hard working peers by ticking boxes at random on the multiple-choice questions and writing an essay sceptical about government policy on nuclear power. I can only assume the person who marked my paper was a rabid Green campaigner because at best I will have only guessed twenty-five percent of the maths questions correctly.
I am one of those who might have benefitted from the government’s decision to replace exams with results based on a ramshackle, back-of-an-envelope, mishmash of teacher assessment, dodgy algorithm and coin flip.
Ofqual hard at work calculating this year’s exam results.
It would have been a suitably chaotic end to my academic ‘career’. I was never destined to grace the halls of academe. However, as the concerned parent of a bright kid who is nervously awaiting the results of their random computations it’s squeaky bum time, as the great poet said. If there has been anything I can absolutely rely on in my lifetime it’s that I cannot expect government institutions to be consistent, compassionate and least of all competant. Here on this sceptered isle we pinball from one half-arsed shambles to another like some befuddled teenager randomly ticking multiple-choice answers to questions they don’t understand, hoping for the best and fearing the worst.
State of the nation.
That’s exactly where we sit on our squeaky behinds on the eve of results day. Futures uncertainly suspended in time. I say we, they are not my results but my daughter’s. I am decidedly anxious so I cannot imagine how she feels*. I’m more like the soccer coach helplessly sitting on the side line during a penalty shootout. Not that I live vicariously through her accomplishments, I can claim no credit for that. Regardless of the results I am very proud of all she’s achieved, how hard she’s worked throughout school and how seriously she takes her studies. Okay, maybe I do glow a little in her reflected glory as she has done all the things I never could.
My fingers are crossed for everyone who is waiting for their results this week. I sincerely hope you get the grades you need.
*I asked and I can’t publish her response in a family-friendly forum such as this.
The only qualification you need to get hold of my Book Tour art print is great taste. Mailed worldwide (and flat) from my store.
Kerry and the Knight of the Forest is out in the world. Order from me and get a sweet sketch like this one.
Finally, tomorrow’s Patreon story tackles the classics.