Monday, 17 September 2012

English GCSE - an update

Looking over our GCSE English results this summer and comparing them with previous years we can see a drop against our expected grades.  Our reasonable conclusion is that our pupils have been disadvantaged by the exam board's decision to move the grade boundaries.  We are certainly not alone in this view and have written to the parents of those affected explaining that we will support those who wish to take advantage of the 'free' re-take in November.  I put 'free' in inverted commas deliberately because there is a cost to the pupils and their teachers in giving up time to prepare when they should be concentrating on AS work.

HMC will shortly be releasing evidence of concerns stretching back over several years of exam board errors.  Click here for a link.  The timing is particularly appropriate as Michael Gove announced in Parliament today his plans for an overhaul of GCSE exams.  I welcome his intentions and say again that I am fully in favour of a more rigorous system - part of which is ensuring accurate and effective marking by exam boards.  If I have a criticism it is that he seems to be going for a limited reform based around a small number of subjects in the first instance.  If we are to move to a better system I would prefer to see it across the board otherwise we risk having a mixed economy with some subjects seen as 'proper' and others having less value.