The Times has uncovered clear evidence that exams are not just becoming easier but that there is a conscious effort going on to make them easier:
"Examiners will have to set easier questions in some GCSE science papers, under
new rules seen by The Times. A document prepared by the Joint Council for
Qualifications (JCQ), which represents awarding bodies across Britain, says
that, from next year, exam papers should consist of 70 per cent “low-demand
questions”, requiring simpler or multiple-choice answers. These currently
make up just 55 per cent of the paper."
With GCSEs getting so much easier and pupils being taught to the test the academic content of a GCSE students' education has to be on the decline. In a politician run system students are taught what they need to know to pass the test, that's what matters to politicians who use targets to understand school performance. If those tests become less rigorous this feeds directly into lower educational standards.
This story also confirms that government claims of rising educational standards, made on the basis of rising exam results, should not be trusted. Instead, we need to look to proxies like the number of low-skilled young people; Britain has the second highest level of low-skilled 25-34 year olds in the OECD - twice the level in Germany or the US.