The Sunday Times is reporting that exam boards are to lower some grade boundaries for this summer’s GCSEs to prevent an embarrassingly big dip in results after the former education secretary Michael Gove made the exams more difficult.
Children getting their GCSE results this summer will need fewer marks to get a C rather than a D, or an A rather than a B than in previous years, an exam board insider told The Sunday Times. The change has been condemned as “fiddling”, leaving employers, parents and pupils confused about how well children have really done.
Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham, added: “Lowering the grade boundaries is a way of making Gove’s changes to GCSEs more palatable.” He thinks there will still be a slight dip on last year’s results. “The fiddling means that trying to compare this year’s results with last year’s is a nonsense.”
The results in English GCSE are understood to be particularly vulnerable after the scrapping of a part of the exam that had allowed teachers to assess pupils’ speaking and listening abilities.
In previous years, the teacher assessments counted for 25% of the total marks and Smithers said teachers and parents often did coursework for children.
This year, encouraged by Gove, more pupils have opted for GCSEs in harder subjects such as languages, a move exam boards have admitted is likely to “depress results”…
More at: GCSE marks bumped up to avoid Gove effect (subscription required)
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