South Cumbria school teachers hit out at GCSE grading ‘scandal’
Last updated at 16:41, Tuesday, 04 September 2012
SCHOOLS have spoken out over the ongoing row surrounding GCSE results – as the education secretary faces increasing pressure to intervene.
Questioned by fellow MPs, Michael Gove yesterday refused to advise Ofqual to re-mark English papers.
GCSE English grading boundaries were altered between January and May exams – making it harder for pupils to get a C.
Ofqual refuses to regrade the exams, claiming January’s GCSE English exams were “graded generously” but June’s boundaries were properly set.
Walney School and Furness Academy were among schools across the country which vowed to appeal.
They were two of the worst performing secondary schools in Cumbria in this year’s GCSEs – both falling below the new government target of 40 per cent of students gaining five A* to Cs, including English and maths.
But even schools which bucked the trend have criticised the new system.
At Ulverston Victoria High School, pupils gaining A* to C in English rose to 77 per cent.
Yet Mike Martin, UVHS head of English, said the department was not happy with the current system, claiming it had become harder to teach and more difficult for the students to enjoy.
He said: “We spent all year really anticipating a problem at a national level and doing all we could to make sure we were not one of those who lost out.
“But I think there is a serious problem and I feel very sorry for the schools and the pupils who have suffered as a result.
“If all schools had done what we did, I suspect we would not have been able to do as well.”
Millom School also celebrated a record year with its A* to C pass rate in GCSE English being 71 per cent.
Millom headteacher Ian Smith said a handful of students affected by the boundary changes were being assisted by the school and have gained access to the school’s sixth form.
He added: “I think it is a scandal the grade boundaries moved in the way they did.
“There are two distinct bands of students, those who took the exams earlier in the year who were judged by one criteria, and those who did it in the second part. It would not have needed much of an outbreak of common sense to review it at the end of the year rather than part of the way through it.”
First published at 16:31, Tuesday, 04 September 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
A final exam system is no more "rigorous" [the Tories' favourite word of the moment] than modular, coursework or the controlled assessment currently in use. It is just a different way of assessing. Some models assess a student's achievement as they go along and record those marks whereas another leaves all assessment to the end. Some students do well in the former model and others in the latter. Both models include internal and external moderation and, interestingly in the light of recent events, both models allow exam boards to move grade boundaries as they wish, or as instructed.
The majority of schools have actually improved their results this year - there has been less than half a single percent decrease in England.
Next year these modular exams will be ended, so students won't get the chance to constantly resit exams every January and July of their two year GCSE course - no doubt schools which seem to get poor results will call this an 'injustice' too. Actually, it is a return to more rigorous standards which happened before the dumbing down of qualifications.
The changes haven't kicked in until 2014 so heaven help us when both Walney and Furness Academy get their resdults in 2016, unless something significant happens before then to improve the leadership at both schools.
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