Schools braced for turmoil after warnings that changes will cause top grades to fall to an eight-year low

The Mail is reporting that schools are bracing themselves for “exam turmoil” this week amid warnings that new reforms to GCSE could lead to a dip in some grades.

…English and history students are expected to be hit particularly hard, as they will have been the first year group to take the new ‘tougher’ papers in these subjects.

Meanwhile, if this year’s results follow previous trends, the proportion of top grades awarded across the board could fall to an eight-year low after a steady decline from 2011…

Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham, said: ‘The trend at A and A* is downwards at the moment. The general direction of grades seems to be south.

‘As a result of the changes, one might have expected the results to go down again this year.

‘However, Ofqual makes sure the proportions are the same as previous years for consistency’s sake, so any change is likely to be small – and it could go either way…’

The proportion gaining A* entries is expected to be between 6 and 8 per cent, but could drop slightly as a continuation of a four-year trend…

Ofqual, the exams watchdog, has said results will remain stable this year, but there may be changes for individual school cohorts…

More at: GCSE results dip after Gove reforms: Schools braced for turmoil after warnings that changes will cause top grades to fall to an eight-year low


Surely the bigger issue here is the one mentioned at the end – the impact that might be experienced in individual schools as they adapt to changes in courses? 

In seems unlikely – as Ofqual has confirmed and contrary to the Mail’s headline here – that there will be much change to the overall proportions at each grade level.

What are you expecting and what are you most worried about?


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  1. irvingphil

    SchoolsImprove I’m most worried that Ofqual have been flat out lying about this for four years. Examiner friend has been told to toughen up

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Due to how the grade boundaries are based upon a normal distribution any marked change is purely manipulated by boards/DfE

  3. andylutwyche

    “Dai_James1942: andylutwyche SchoolsImprove as the professor presumably knows perfectly well #faux_outrage” Quite

  4. _jopayne

    SchoolsImprove We have predicted more A and A* grades this year than any previous year. Similar reports to this come out every year though.

  5. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove went through this in 2013 in Science with significant decline in top grades – note how A-level entries then declined.

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