It’s probably one of the things that secondary school leaders most fear: a bolt-from-the-blue collapse in their GCSE results. Tes reports.
While Ofqual’s “comparable outcomes” system pegs GCSE results at a national level to previous years’ performance, big swings – both negative and positive – can and do happen at school level.
“Centre-level variability” is the jargon used by Ofqual to refer to year-on-year changes, and the exams regulator has today published research looking at what causes it.
Here’s how stability and volatility affects different types of school:
1. Schools with high numbers of grade C/D candidates
Ofqual said that “how centre ability profile affects centre variability is not entirely clear”. But it added that “centres with very high or low ability profiles are more likely to experience lower level of variability in outcomes than centres with high proportions of grade C or grade D candidates”.
4. Disadvantaged schools
According to Ofqual, “some commentators have suggested that the comparable outcomes approach to awarding, in successfully managing unwarranted grade inflation, might be having a differential effect on those centres operating in a more challenging context”.
However, Ofqual found “that measures of socio-economic status have little or no bearing on centre variability”.
“This indicates that the comparable outcomes approach to awarding does not have a systematic negative impact on centres with higher proportions of low socio-economic status candidates,” the report adds.
Read 3 more ways that stability and volatility affects different types of school The schools most likely to see GCSE grade swings
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