Top science students in Britain failed a science test using questions from 1965 to 2005 exams. The Royal Society of Chemistry devised the two-hour exam. The oldest questions were the hardest: Students averaged 35 percent correct for 2005 questions but only 15 percent for 1965 questions.
The RSC called the test, taken by just over 1,300 of the country’s brightest 16-year-olds, the first hard evidence of a “catastrophic slippage” in exam standards.
. . . Dr. Richard Pike, chief executive of the RSC, said: “The brightest pupils are not being trained in mathematical techniques, because they can get a grade A* pass without doing a single calculation. Conversely, the majority get at least a ‘good pass’ (grade C) by showing merely a superficial knowledge on a wide range of issues but no understanding of the fundamentals.
The students who took the test are expected to earn A grades on the 2009 science exam.