Royal flush

Prince Harry’s grades aren’t good enough for a good university, so he’ll take a year off and go into the army. After five years at Eton, Harry earned a D in geography and a B in art on his A-levels.

Older brother William gained a C in biology, A in geography and B in history of art. The very best candidates gain five A-levels at grade A. The worst pass grade is an E.

Harry, 18, will take a year off before applying to the prestigious Sandhurst military academy, which trains military officers.

“I am very proud of Harry,” Charles said in a statement. “He has worked hard for these examinations and I am very pleased with today’s results.”

If Harry worked hard for a D in geography, he must not be very bright. Well, intelligence is not a requirement for royalty; it’s probably a handicap. Harry’s much-admired mother, Princess Diana, failed her 0-levels twice and left school at 16. That’s the equivalent of dropping out of high school because you can’t pass the basic skills exam.

Update: Joshua Kaye, an American studying at Oxford, says a D in Britain is not as bad as an American D.

While in the U.S. grade inflation runs rampant, in the U.K. national standards are applied to prevent grade inflation.  These standards do not only take the form of testing, but all graded work is examined by a board of examiners to whom the student being graded is anonymous (the examiners are anonymous to the student as well).  These examiners are drawn not only from the academic institution the student attends, but from peer institutions as well.  This keeps grade inflation well in check.

About 20 percent of A-level grades are As, which is low by U.S. standards, considering that only college-bound students take the A-levels.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. Actually, I’m touched that these grades are made public. Imagine a prof who has the confidence to give a D to a royal.

    I went to schools where the children of people who might cause a fuss could count on A and B grades.
    j.c. —
    #2 Aug 14 2003, 01:42 pm
    From everything I’ve read, Charles is a fairly intelligent man. He’s the first member of a British royal family to earn a university degree, he can play the cello, and he even learned helicopter repair. It’s a shame his kids are not as sharp.
    Steve
      

    #3 Aug 14 2003, 02:03 pm
    Sounds like the Brit’s have a sane educational system. If you’re not cut out for book learnin’, you move on to something else. In our system everyone pretends everyone else is a scholar.
    Dave
      

    #4 Aug 14 2003, 04:29 pm
    I assume that graders don’t know whose exam they’re grading, so Harry’s results aren’t dependent on his status, either way.

    It is refreshing to see a system that doesn’t insist that every kid go to college, however unprepared or unmotivated. Harry is a good cadet and a good athlete. He’s just not a scholar.
    Joanne Jacobs
      

    #5 Aug 14 2003, 05:32 pm
    Prince Charles himself only earned two A levels — a B in history and a C in French. Yet he still got into Cambridge, where he earned a second class degree.
    jackie d —
    #6 Aug 14 2003, 06:54 pm
    Geography and art? Where’s math, literature? History?
    Laura
      

    #7 Aug 14 2003, 10:02 pm
    Charles intelligent? He makes Rose Bird sound clever.
    Gene 6-Pack   

    #8 Aug 15 2003, 12:42 am
    I think British students specialize when they take the A-levels. So a top student might take A-levels in math, physics, chemistry, geology and German, but not in literature or history. They don’t have to show breadth. There’s another exam, a replacement for the O-levels, that requires competence in a wide range of subjects. That’s if I understand the system, which I may not.
    Joanne Jacobs —
    #9 Aug 15 2003, 02:31 am
    I never really understood the British system; they certainly limit upper education much more than we do. My impression is that they have no equivalent to our community colleges, for example.

    So you choose five subject exams to take? Does the fact that Harry passed two mean that he flunked the other three? And what’s with geography as a separate subject? Does that test (like the National Geographic “geography bee”) require endless memorization of place names, or is some thinking involved?

    Anyway, good luck to Harry on getting into Sandhurst.
    PJ/Maryland   

    #10 Aug 15 2003, 05:00 am
    I am acquainted with the Prince of Wales’s Cambridge history tutor (his instructor, IOW, when he was at university). He tells me that Prince Charles is an exceptionally bright man, and was a very good student. He’s also a very good speaker (Gene, you must not have been listening).

    BTW, the tradition of the eldest son of an aristocratic family going to university and the second son going into the military is an old one.
    Michael

      

    #11 Aug 15 2003, 06:51 am
    Michael, didn’t Prince Charles also go into the Royal Navy?
    Steve
    [–
    #12 Aug 15 2003, 08:15 am
    Queen Elizabeth II’s father, her husband and first two sons were in the Royal Navy.
    George
      

    #13 Aug 15 2003, 10:03 am
    The British system, at least 20 years ago, was that at about 16 you took your O levels, which were in a wide variety of subjects, usually at least 7. Most of the folks I went to TCD (Trinity College Dublin) with who had been through the British system, had only taken at most 3 A levels. I didn’t know anyone who had even taken 4, never mind 5 subjects at that level.

    So someone planning to go on to study History at university would take A levels in History, and 2 of classics, art, geography, and a foreign language. Courses chosen at A levels depended very much on one’s chosen career track. (E.g. if you wanted to go into medicine you would study biology, chemisty, and the like.)

    The Irish system was similar, but having taken 9 or 10 Intermediate Certificate subjects, you usually had 6 or 7 Leaving Certificate papers. You also sat the Leaving Cert at 17 or 18 the first time, rather than 18 or 19 for the A levels. There was no stigma to repeating your final year and taking the exams again to try for better grades.

    They also grade lot harder than they do over here, and I’m basing that on my experiences in the 70s. If I coasted at an American school I got Bs, if I actually worked I got As with little difficulty in most subjects (except Biology and Chemistry where I worked pretty hard for my Bs). In Ireland I worked much harder than that and was mostly getting Cs. I only got Ds on the honours level Leaving Cert papers for History and English (Cs on the rest), but did all right at University in History. So unless grade inflation has hit England badly since I left, I’d say that William’s results weren’t bad,and Harry’s, while not good, could have been much worse. At least he did pass the A levels.
    Library Gryffon
      

    #14 Aug 15 2003, 11:38 am
    I thought it was referred to as the O.W.L.’s and N.E.W.T.s.

    Harry took the O.W.L.s this year.

    Potter that is.
    Keith
      

    #15 Aug 15 2003, 12:59 pm
    About 20 percent of A-level grades are As. Critics say students are choosing easy subjects, like media studies and psychology, while avoiding harder subjects, particularly foreign languages.

    The Brits are trying to get more students to college, including those who don’t pass any A-levels. However, they’re not as college-happy as Americans yet. They do have a lot of vocational training options for young people.
    Joanne Jacobs —
    #16 Aug 15 2003, 01:00 pm
    I was waiting for Harry Potter to come up. Yes, Prince Charles was a serving naval officer. Prince Philip was a naval officer, as were the Queen’s father and grandfather, George VI and George V, respectively. Neither of the Georges was expected to come to the throne: George V’s elder brother, the Duke of Clarence, died young, and George VI’s elder brother, Edward VIII, abdicated. In both cases, the crown was better off.
    Michael

    #17 Aug 15 2003, 09:26 pm
    Which explains why she is “the {stupid}people’s Princess.” I always thought she was a neurotic bitch with no guts who couldn’t stand the gaff. No wonder Charles went crying to Camila.
    the big mick

  2. Actually, I’m touched that these grades are made public. Imagine a prof who has the confidence to give a D to a royal.

    I went to schools where the children of people who might cause a fuss could count on A and B grades.
    j.c. —
    #2 Aug 14 2003, 01:42 pm
    From everything I’ve read, Charles is a fairly intelligent man. He’s the first member of a British royal family to earn a university degree, he can play the cello, and he even learned helicopter repair. It’s a shame his kids are not as sharp.
    Steve
      

    #3 Aug 14 2003, 02:03 pm
    Sounds like the Brit’s have a sane educational system. If you’re not cut out for book learnin’, you move on to something else. In our system everyone pretends everyone else is a scholar.
    Dave
      

    #4 Aug 14 2003, 04:29 pm
    I assume that graders don’t know whose exam they’re grading, so Harry’s results aren’t dependent on his status, either way.

    It is refreshing to see a system that doesn’t insist that every kid go to college, however unprepared or unmotivated. Harry is a good cadet and a good athlete. He’s just not a scholar.
    Joanne Jacobs
      

    #5 Aug 14 2003, 05:32 pm
    Prince Charles himself only earned two A levels — a B in history and a C in French. Yet he still got into Cambridge, where he earned a second class degree.
    jackie d —
    #6 Aug 14 2003, 06:54 pm
    Geography and art? Where’s math, literature? History?
    Laura
      

    #7 Aug 14 2003, 10:02 pm
    Charles intelligent? He makes Rose Bird sound clever.
    Gene 6-Pack   

    #8 Aug 15 2003, 12:42 am
    I think British students specialize when they take the A-levels. So a top student might take A-levels in math, physics, chemistry, geology and German, but not in literature or history. They don’t have to show breadth. There’s another exam, a replacement for the O-levels, that requires competence in a wide range of subjects. That’s if I understand the system, which I may not.
    Joanne Jacobs —
    #9 Aug 15 2003, 02:31 am
    I never really understood the British system; they certainly limit upper education much more than we do. My impression is that they have no equivalent to our community colleges, for example.

    So you choose five subject exams to take? Does the fact that Harry passed two mean that he flunked the other three? And what’s with geography as a separate subject? Does that test (like the National Geographic “geography bee”) require endless memorization of place names, or is some thinking involved?

    Anyway, good luck to Harry on getting into Sandhurst.
    PJ/Maryland   

    #10 Aug 15 2003, 05:00 am
    I am acquainted with the Prince of Wales’s Cambridge history tutor (his instructor, IOW, when he was at university). He tells me that Prince Charles is an exceptionally bright man, and was a very good student. He’s also a very good speaker (Gene, you must not have been listening).

    BTW, the tradition of the eldest son of an aristocratic family going to university and the second son going into the military is an old one.
    Michael

      

    #11 Aug 15 2003, 06:51 am
    Michael, didn’t Prince Charles also go into the Royal Navy?
    Steve
    [–
    #12 Aug 15 2003, 08:15 am
    Queen Elizabeth II’s father, her husband and first two sons were in the Royal Navy.
    George
      

    #13 Aug 15 2003, 10:03 am
    The British system, at least 20 years ago, was that at about 16 you took your O levels, which were in a wide variety of subjects, usually at least 7. Most of the folks I went to TCD (Trinity College Dublin) with who had been through the British system, had only taken at most 3 A levels. I didn’t know anyone who had even taken 4, never mind 5 subjects at that level.

    So someone planning to go on to study History at university would take A levels in History, and 2 of classics, art, geography, and a foreign language. Courses chosen at A levels depended very much on one’s chosen career track. (E.g. if you wanted to go into medicine you would study biology, chemisty, and the like.)

    The Irish system was similar, but having taken 9 or 10 Intermediate Certificate subjects, you usually had 6 or 7 Leaving Certificate papers. You also sat the Leaving Cert at 17 or 18 the first time, rather than 18 or 19 for the A levels. There was no stigma to repeating your final year and taking the exams again to try for better grades.

    They also grade lot harder than they do over here, and I’m basing that on my experiences in the 70s. If I coasted at an American school I got Bs, if I actually worked I got As with little difficulty in most subjects (except Biology and Chemistry where I worked pretty hard for my Bs). In Ireland I worked much harder than that and was mostly getting Cs. I only got Ds on the honours level Leaving Cert papers for History and English (Cs on the rest), but did all right at University in History. So unless grade inflation has hit England badly since I left, I’d say that William’s results weren’t bad,and Harry’s, while not good, could have been much worse. At least he did pass the A levels.
    Library Gryffon
      

    #14 Aug 15 2003, 11:38 am
    I thought it was referred to as the O.W.L.’s and N.E.W.T.s.

    Harry took the O.W.L.s this year.

    Potter that is.
    Keith
      

    #15 Aug 15 2003, 12:59 pm
    About 20 percent of A-level grades are As. Critics say students are choosing easy subjects, like media studies and psychology, while avoiding harder subjects, particularly foreign languages.

    The Brits are trying to get more students to college, including those who don’t pass any A-levels. However, they’re not as college-happy as Americans yet. They do have a lot of vocational training options for young people.
    Joanne Jacobs —
    #16 Aug 15 2003, 01:00 pm
    I was waiting for Harry Potter to come up. Yes, Prince Charles was a serving naval officer. Prince Philip was a naval officer, as were the Queen’s father and grandfather, George VI and George V, respectively. Neither of the Georges was expected to come to the throne: George V’s elder brother, the Duke of Clarence, died young, and George VI’s elder brother, Edward VIII, abdicated. In both cases, the crown was better off.
    Michael

    #17 Aug 15 2003, 09:26 pm
    Which explains why she is “the {stupid}people’s Princess.” I always thought she was a neurotic bitch with no guts who couldn’t stand the gaff. No wonder Charles went crying to Camila.
    the big mick

  3. If you’re wondering why the comments look peculiar, it’s because I cut-and-pasted the pre-MT comments in. I can’t figure out a more elegant way to do it.

  4. If you’re wondering why the comments look peculiar, it’s because I cut-and-pasted the pre-MT comments in. I can’t figure out a more elegant way to do it.

  5. At this very moment the British are discussing grade inflation. A-level results were mailed out a few days ago, and surprise, over 95% of students passed, with I believe well more than 20% getting A’s. To set the public at ease, education officials point to better teachers, and more focused students. Reagrdless, the public is told, it is more important to get greater numbers of young people into university (paticularly to meet the government’s 50% attendance target), regardless of whether they really nailed their media studies exam or not.

    Joe s

  6. At this very moment the British are discussing grade inflation. A-level results were mailed out a few days ago, and surprise, over 95% of students passed, with I believe well more than 20% getting A’s. To set the public at ease, education officials point to better teachers, and more focused students. Reagrdless, the public is told, it is more important to get greater numbers of young people into university (paticularly to meet the government’s 50% attendance target), regardless of whether they really nailed their media studies exam or not.

    Joe s