Teachers told to reassure students as language exams get tougher

The TES is reporting that teachers are being warned this summer’s A-level language exams will be more difficult than previous years’ papers, but the changes will not adversely affect students’ grades…

…A letter sent to schools by a group of headteachers’ organisations and language associations this week warns that students and teachers, “could become anxious that grades in modern languages generally will be lower” because of the more difficult tests.

However, it says, “the changes will not affect the proportion of candidates obtaining each grade in general (except, potentially, A*) as grade boundaries will be adjusted to match the wider spread of marks awarded.”

Changes have been made after heads of languages complained that unpredictable marking of language papers was deterring students from the subject, and that the number of pupils gaining an A* was too low…

It comes after a report by exams watchdog Ofqual, published in September, found that in A-level French, German and Spanish assessments, “a large number of questions were not effective in differentiating between students of different abilities, especially between the most able”…

More at: Teachers told to reassure students as language exams get tougher


So if I’m reading this correctly, the argument here is that marks have been too clustered together and that harder questions will spread them out and, as a consequence, enable the proportion of A*s to go up.

That sounds tome like a reasonable argument, especially if students were being put off taking languages because of the relatively lower chances of obtaining the highest marks compared with other subjects.

Anyone concerned over these changes or are you broadly supportive?

Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove So what they are saying is that previous exam grades were dubious but the new ones should be fine. I won’t hold my breath

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