Pupils are facing the toughest ever GCSEs, as education leaders warn grades risk becoming a ‘lottery’

The Telegraph is reporting that thousands of “guinea pig” students are expected to be disappointed with their results, as teachers have struggled to accurately predict grades under the new system, experts say.

This summer is the first year that students are taking re-vamped exams in a raft of subjects. The new courses were part of a package of reforms by former Education Secretary Michael Gove, designed to toughen up syllabuses, make courses more linear, and cut down on the number of students getting A*s.

“I think it’s fair to say there is quite a lot of anxiety from young people – they feel as though they are guinea pigs in a new system,” said Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

“I think a lot of parents have been taken by surprise about stories of how much harder the content is and the sheer number of examinations,” he said. “They are concerned with the effect on mental health. The weight of the exams is formidable.”

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the centre of education and employment at Buckingham University, added that many teachers will “be playing catch up”.

“Teachers are not really in a position to accurately predict grades this year and to a large extent will be guessing,” he said.

Ofqual, the exams watchdog, says that the exam reforms were designed to raise standards in schools and keep up with universities’ and employers’ demands.

Read more Pupils are facing the toughest ever GCSEs, as education leaders warn grades risk becoming a ‘lottery’

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