When governments look to fight hyper-inflation a common strategy has been to issue a new currency.
The idea is that the new currency will restore credibility and signal a break from the past. Today it has been announced that the government is trying to do something similar in an attempt to stop grade inflation. A new A* grade is being announced which will require a 90% score without resits.
However, just issuing a new currency or creating a new grade isn’t enough. The underlying cause of the inflation needs to be tackled. To create stability in the value of a currency the government needs to stop printing money. There will often need to be some external force compelling them to stop such as a body of international creditors insisting upon restraints on money supply.
To put an end to grade inflation we need to free schools from political management. In the independent sector schools have to respond to the priorities of parents in order to attract fee-paying students. Parents want their children to have respected qualifications. That’s why the number of independent schools using the International Baccalaureate instead of the discredited A-Level is steadily rising. Those that haven’t made the switch will focus on the more challenging subjects. In the state sector there is a constant search for subject choices that might boost results such as the GNVQ in information and communications technology which counts for four high-grade GCSE passes. This is chosen because it boosts a school’s league table results, which pleases politicians.
Only real reform placing education spending at the disposal of parents will lead to an end to grade inflation. New grades will be, at best, a temporary fix.