Exam boards warned new GCSEs are ‘too easy’

The TES is reporting that the government’s GCSE reform programme has been hit as sample papers for the new qualifications have been rejected in several key subjects “amid concerns that they are too easy.”

Ofqual has turned down specimen papers for reformed GCSEs in history and geography from all four exam boards involved in setting the new qualifications. Some modern foreign language papers have also been rejected, TES understands.

Ministers were already concerned that their desire for exp­licitly tougher GCSEs, to be phased in from next month in England, was being thwarted by a new “race to the bottom” after problems with standards in sample maths papers.

Now they are said to be considering asking Ofqual to introduce fines for exam boards that have to resubmit their sample assessment materials to the regulator too many times.

Ofqual and the four boards are playing down the latest concerns. An Ofqual spokesman said the papers had been ­rejected because they “failed to comply” with requirements…

More at: Exam boards warned new GCSEs are ‘too easy’


See also: GCSE results remain stable – so why are ministers concerned exams are dumbed down?


All of which, in turn, could mean delays in getting the new specifications to schools.

Are ministers and Ofqual being too picky here, or is this a further indication of why the government is said to be considering a switch to a single exam boards?

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GCSE results: language entries drop for second year running
GCSE results remain stable – so why are ministers concerned exams are dumbed down?
Categories: Policy and Secondary.


  1. RushtonDr

    SchoolsImprove RationalColonel the material will be made ‘tougher’ and then the grade boundaries will be lowered to compensate 1/2

  2. RationalColonel

    RushtonDr SchoolsImprove But then somehow the papers every year would have to be kept at exactly the same standard of difficulty. Not easy

  3. langtoneagle

    RationalColonel RushtonDr SchoolsImprove There’s a lot to be said for keeping grade boundaries high though 1/2

  4. RushtonDr

    RationalColonel you are right, it would be tough, but I find it odd that grade boundaries can shift so much year on year.

  5. langtoneagle

    RationalColonel RushtonDr SchoolsImprove an A should mean you’ve mastered something, not made an attempt at something much too hard 2/2

  6. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This is a symptom of govt ministers changing and policies based upon whimsical decisions as to what should be included

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