Sounds to me like a "dumbing down" of basic standards. You praise something to make it "special". We were expected to have our multiplication tables off by heart by the end of year 4 (in todays language) and even the remove forms were mostly expected to know them by the time they went to the then secondary school
I have a friend who was a moderator for one of the major examining boards, he left in disgust as markers were not allowed to take marks for basic spelling and grammatical errors like "their" for "there"; "could of" instead of "could have", or even as happened in some cases for spelling their own names correctly. The difficulty we, as a society face, is that many of the teachers know little better!