Tens of thousands of pupils are receiving the wrong grades in GCSEs and A-levels because of “truly shocking” failings in the way exams are marked, Britain’s leading independent schools have warned. This is from the Telegraph…
In a damning report, it was claimed that the exams system had been undermined by a series of “systematic” weaknesses including poor quality marking, inconsistencies between competing test boards, wildly fluctuating grade boundaries and dumbed down questions.
The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) insisted that problems went “far deeper” than the fiasco surrounding the grading of GCSE English exams this summer, when as many as 67,000 pupils are believed to have received the wrong mark.
Researchers said that subjects such as English literature, history, drama and foreign languages had all been hit by “seemingly random and largely unexplained” problems over the past five years.
They quoted figures showing that one-in-five teachers believe as many as a quarter of students get the wrong GCSE grades in any one year.
It insisted that the Government’s planned overhaul of the exams system – including axing GCSEs in favour of new-style “English Baccalaureate Certificates” – would fail because it amounts to little more than “houses built on sand”.
In today’s report, they called for an urgent investigation by Ofqual, the exams watchdog, into marking standards to ensure examiners have the necessary qualifications and expertise needed to properly accredit pupils’ work.
Headmasters also demanded a sharp cut in the number of exams taken by secondary school pupils to minimise the scope for problems.
The comments come amid continuing concerns over the examination and assessment system.
Last week, the Government announced that competition between multiple exam boards was to be axed amid claims that it created a “race to the bottom”.