People who claim exams are getting easier are harking back to a golden age "as mythical as Jason and the Argonauts", the Government will claim today.
Education Secretary Alan Johnson will use a speech in the Midlands to defend GCSEs and A levels from the annual accusations that they have been "dumbed down".
Thousands of pupils in the region will get their results for papers sat during the summer within the next month.
Speaking in Leicester, at the UK Youth Parliament, Mr Johnson will attack a "mind-set" that sees success in education as a negative rather than a positive thing.
He will say: "Some people will always hark back to the 'good old days'. Sentimentality has its role in society, but I do not believe that role is to denigrate the hard work and efforts of the nation's children.
"Moreover, research shows that the so called golden age is as mythical as Jason and the Argonauts.
"We are proud of what we have done to raise standards and will do more to make sure everyone is getting the best results they can."
Last year the A level pass rate rose to 96.2 per cent of entries scoring A to E. The pass rate in 1982 was 68 per cent. The pass rate for GCSEs was 97.8 per cent.
Conservative leader David Cameron, who was Shadow Education Secretary at the time, called on the Government to take action to ensure exams maintained the confidence of "universities, employers and students themselves".
Business commentators also expressed concern over the high pass rate.
But Mr Johnson will attack what has been dubbed the "British disease" of failing to recognise achievement.
"This generation really is improving. We should be celebrating the fact that pass rates are going up and attainment is rising. Despite the received wisdom of those that seek to detract from the achievements of our young people, research shows young people's performance is improving."