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OFQUAL have spoken.

(116 Posts)
magentadreamer Fri 31-Aug-12 16:39:52

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-19438536

Not suprised with their findings. Grade boundaries stand but a resit in November is offered. Unable to read full report as ofqual site has crashed.

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 31-Aug-12 16:42:20

I am not surprised.

eversoamazed Fri 31-Aug-12 17:06:22

this link should work
www.ofqual.gov.uk/files/2012-08-31-gcse-english-awards-2012-a-regulatory-report.pdf

Copthallresident Fri 31-Aug-12 17:16:30

It wasn't just state schools and pupils on the C/D margin. Results were down at DD2s highly selective school, as they were at other local selectives, mirroring what Wycombe Abbey Head said in the Press and regardless of whether they were GCSEs or IGCSEs. But obviously it's not political or the marking? We need to look for another explanation. Was there something in the air in 1995 that interfered with the brains of this cohort? Or perhaps all these schools at the top of the league tables suddenly got worse at selection and teaching? Or we parents have produced a particularly dysfunctional cohort? Or they were significantly more lazy / complacent than last year?

I have a DD1 who took GCSEs four years ago and I know that this years cohort were no different and DD2 would have got a better set of results then. There are some real shockers at AS and A2 too, even mighty St Pauls are sending subjects back for wholesale remark. But all remarks so far are coming back with no change as well, which is also not usual. The sad thing is that those in unis will have no way of knowing if an applicant was a victim at the borderline or firmly within that grade so we will be more ready to discount a GCSE grade if it is not consistent with other measures of the pupils ability. Few people argue change wasn't needed but in terms of effective change Mr Gove has delivered only something that is unfair and undermines the exam system even further. He gets a Grade E on my mark scheme.

Itchyandscratchy Fri 31-Aug-12 17:54:46

This absolutely STINKS. I feel truly sick about it. There is absolutely no way any student would want to re-take: they'd be marked against the 'new' higher grade boundaries and all exam boards will be wanting to show Ofqual that they can roll over and perform tricks which do NOT include awarding higher grades. I'd say it is actually much harder now this year to get a successful re-mark. It's so politically driven.

However, Copthall, you could in theory be able to show how near the grade boundary you were. Schools have access to the exam board mark breakdown for every student. If it was now up to me (I'm not a headteacher but I'm seriously thinking of suggesting this to my head), I would take the mark from the exam board site, include it on an official letter signed by the head for each student who was predicted a C and got a D instead; and tell the student to include this letter alongside the student's exam certificates, which clearly reminds employers of the fiasco this year, outlines where the boundaries were in January and then in June and where this student's mark was.

FunnyLittleFrog Fri 31-Aug-12 18:05:18

Itchy - yes, I'll suggest that to our head too. It's a sound idea.

And how on Earth will schools manage these re-sits? Not just the cost but the fact that the students will need teaching before the exam - it's months now since they were in lessons. Timetables for Sept onwards have been done - can't just find a few more hours and a teacher from nowhere!

Kez100 Fri 31-Aug-12 18:15:54

I assume the free resit will go with the child and when they go to 6th form college or sixth form they will be able to use up the credit, and those schools will have to cope with a bumper entrance.

I think it is a dreadful state of affairs and am so pleased my daughter had extra English to bring her to a B/C borderline which with the drop means she was still a Grade C, she could so easily have been in this group.

I feel for every student shafted by this system.

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 31-Aug-12 18:18:22

Has anyone read the 42 page report on the Ofqual website?

FunnyLittleFrog Fri 31-Aug-12 18:21:07

I am very worried about what will happen next summer. If Ofqual are fine about what happened this time then they are giving license to exam boards to do what the hell they like next year.

FunnyLittleFrog Fri 31-Aug-12 18:24:48

I have scanned it, will save it for later! Basic jist is they must maintain standards from year to year - and June results are accurate while Jan were too generous.

If they regraded, results would not be in line with previous years.

If exam boards were too generous in Jan and caused this fiasco they should be fined.

magentadreamer Fri 31-Aug-12 18:28:13

It's my bedtime reading Knowabit grin

FunnyLittleFrog Fri 31-Aug-12 18:40:39

Wonder if schools below the 40 per cent floor will still be forced to become academies.

Whole thing stinks. angry

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 31-Aug-12 18:41:17

I read the first half and skimmed the second through glazed over eyes.

I understand how they have applied statistics to two different sets of data (one 12x the size of the other).

There is always a risk of being the guinea pig at the start of a new qualification, although this time, the AQA students lucked out. It went the other way for Edexcel Science students at the first sitting in November.

These modular exam systems take a couple of years for a teacher to get their heads wrapped around the system, and the strategies for playing it. Add to that the implications that the January and June cohorts will not be statistically similar for whatever reason. Another confounding variable is that students who were presumed to be more able deserted the new qualification in favour of IGCSE.

One of the descriptions of how the determined grade boundaries was by matching skills from one year to the next. It's not just about numbers and forcing a statistical distribution.

It seems that the conclusion is that the anomalous set of results was the January one. The June 2012 was broadly similar at assessing student knowledge and skills to June 2012, according to the report. No one is suggesting regrading the January results, which would be the logical thing to do.

Bring on linear!

NoComet Fri 31-Aug-12 18:41:22

Just huge sympathy for all involved.

Yes the grades in exams have slipped (the A levels required by my university are mind blowing compared to my old prospectus)

But they should have gently tightened them over several years. Doing this mid year is an utter and total disgrace!

(DD2got caught by them fucking about with legal 6 SATs boundaries, that doesn't matter GCSE English DOES!)

Less Fri 31-Aug-12 18:41:54

I don't have DC involved or taking GCSE's in the next few years and I'm sure I would feel strongly that it was unfair for this year if I did, but didn't this "adjustment" need to happen? The grades couldn't keep increasing year on year for ever.

Taking your example Copthall, has there been something in the air that has made children progressively cleverer and/or teaching better for the last 24 years? Even if there has, the whole system becomes meaningless if too many get top marks.

I'm sure when I took my O-level's (a million years ago) the top x% got A's and the next y% B's etc. There was no set pass mark as such, which meant the paper was effectively moderated and students were marked only against their peers in that year (which across the country must be broadly similar from one year to the next?). That seems reasonable to me.

The way the change has been made is clearly not reasonable. However, what difference would it have made if teachers had known in advance? Surely all children are taught to do the best they can, not simply to get to that magic C grade wink . So if students were only capable of z% = D grade, how would they have got z +1% if teachers had known in advance?

Kez100 Fri 31-Aug-12 19:08:15

Less- they could have resat CAs.

creamteas Fri 31-Aug-12 19:14:23

There seems to be a high level of speculation in their 'comparable outcomes' calculations.

1) The presumption that independent school students have higher key stage 2 results. Well round here, the indies don't sit SATS.

2) They seem to suggest students entered early have lower SATS results.

There are, of course, no references to back up these claims.

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 31-Aug-12 19:36:37

There's no evidence for the converse either.

The evidence they are using is matching up performance criteria from June 2011 to June 2012.

Fewer high performing candidates in general and the profile of January candidates are hypotheses used to attempt to explain the anomalous January results, and slight fall from June 2011 to June 2012. These seem, at first sight, very plausible explanations.

If they had the desire to test these hypotheses, it would be that hard to provide the data, despite the large number of confounding variables.

Ilovegeorgeclooney Fri 31-Aug-12 20:16:49

I think the issue, with AQA is, as a Head of English, the following:
Last June you needed 44/80 on the exam to get a C. In January you needed 43/80. I very carefully read the exam report from both AQA and OFQUAL and both said the exam was 'challenging' and 'accurate'. in addition the foundation paper had a required reading age of 5 months older. So to change to 53/80 without warning is unreasonable. In addition the Controlled Assessments and Speaking and Listening tasks were identical so how dare they raise the grade boundaries within an academic year. It is clear and obvious political machination, I would have accepted the changes if we had been informed there was an issue with the January series but instead they decided to make a political football of children. As a teacher I am not upset my record is damaged but I have taught and cared about these pupils for 5 years and seeing their faces was awful so goodness know how their parents' feel. AQA attacked the C/D borderline on the Foundation paper unfairly and this is where the weakest pupils are. Cruel and wrong.

Dominodonkey Fri 31-Aug-12 20:25:58

I haven't got a major problem with the exam boundaries changing (although it definitely seems to be have been harder to get a C in June) but I genuinely don't understand how they can change the controlled assessment boundaries.

If a piece is worth 17 and 17 is a C then how can they suddenly say a 17 is a D? The piece has not got worse, it is exactly the same piece of work. If it meets the requirements of a C in January it doesn't suddenly not meet the requirements 5 months later. This is the issue they need to be sorting out. The boundaries need to be fixed as they used to be. If they are fixed at a higher standard than in previous years then so be it but they have to be fixed.

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 31-Aug-12 21:12:06

How about January results getting downgraded?

creamteas Fri 31-Aug-12 21:27:10

I don't think revoking a published grade is a realistic solution. That would also be really unfair.

NoComet Fri 31-Aug-12 21:28:21

Why not just bin the contested CA and give the DCs a grade for the rest of the exam?

Then in slower time gently over a few years tighten up the English grades.

I believe employers and collages do complain about literacy standards and that many people feel a overhaul is long over due. This was not how to start it.

Mind you I have two grade A English O'levels and my posts are riddled with errors grin

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 31-Aug-12 21:31:49

For goodness sake, you are happy to have the lower, robust, grade revoked, but not the higher anomalous one!

Double standard?

Dominodonkey Fri 31-Aug-12 21:37:55

starballbunny Because it is not one CA. It is 60% of the qualification.

Knowsabitabouteducation The boundaries given in January for CA were the same as June 2011 and Jan 2011. How can you justify the boundaries on CA changing?

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