The Independent reports on research undertaken by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), in which 1,600 of the country's brightest 16 year olds took "The Five Decade Challenge" - a two-hour exam which included questions from past science papers spread over the past 43 years.
The overall average score was 25 per cent, but the RSC reports that some pupils scored no marks at all. In highlighting what the RSC calls a "catastrophic slippage" in exam standards, the average score for the 2005 paper questions was 35 per cent, compared to 15 per cent for the 1965 questions. Dr Richard Pike, chief executive of the RSC is quoted as saying, "The fact that highly intelligent youngsters were unfamiliar with these types of questions, obtaining on average 35 per cent from recent papers and just 15 percent from the 1960s, points to a systematic failure and misplaced priorities in the education system."
Read The Independent article in full.