Local schools getting easier GCSE exams / inflated grades

(86 Posts)
JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 19:44:25

Hi all,
my daughter is currently at grammar school where they are having very strictly run exams over the course of a month. 2 per subject. One of his friends goes to a local private school. Apparently his friend at private school said they have been having exams for weeks all of which can go towards their exam grades. Her friend who previously had struggled is forecasted to get almost top marks in every subject! Another friend at the same private school is also getting much higher predicted grades. Previously had also struggled as well. This sounds extremely unfair and is putting extra pressure on my own daughter and is surely not an isolated case. Does anyone know the best place I can complain to about this? I simply want to ensure the fairest possible outcome for my own daughter which at present it sounds like she wont get.
Thank you
Jo

OP’s posts: |
EllieNBeeb Thu 06-May-21 19:47:10

It sounds like your daughter is not getting the same education that her friends are getting at a fee paying school. If you want to complain, obviously her school is where you should start, as they aren't giving her the degree opportunities for learning and proving what she has learned as her friends at independents are getting.

JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 19:50:16

Thanks for the reply - it sounds to me like the school are giving their students multiple exams so over the course of time students are finding them easier and easier and therefore getting higher and higher grades. As I said before both of her friends right up until they started doing these exams had been getting barely average results. Now suddenly they are expecting near perfect grades!!

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JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 19:51:30

I should add on of her friends was even laughing about the fact they were going to get such high grades. Its not their fault but surely the school in question are in basic terms "cheating."

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LEMtheoriginal Thu 06-May-21 19:53:27

My daughter is yr 11 and has been tested constantly since november. I can tell you now it is not a soft alternative. Its nearly bloody breaking her. I hope she gets the grades she has worked so hard for

wonderstuff Thu 06-May-21 19:54:59

Wouldn't be surprised.

Greenmarmalade Thu 06-May-21 19:55:05

I imagine that your daughter, studying at a grammar school, is getting decent grades. No?

You actually can’t do anything as you don’t know how they’re assessing students in other schools. Teachers are under insane pressure to grade students and collect folders full of evidence. They are all trying their best to be fair and get the best outcome for their kids, as they’ve had a really hard time.

Why is this putting your daughter under more pressure? As long as she gets maths, English and science, and gets into college/wherever, job done.

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Greenmarmalade Thu 06-May-21 19:57:13

* As I said before both of her friends right up until they started doing these exams had been getting barely average results.*

In which year? Year 10? They were being tested differently then, possibly on the entire gcse course. Now students are being tested only on things they’ve been taught, so grades are, rightly, different and more realistic.

MarjorieBouvier Thu 06-May-21 19:57:17

If these schools are all sitting exam after exam, presumably in proper exam conditions, then why bother cancelling GCSEs/Alevels in the first place?

JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 19:57:45

I am sorry to hear about that. The point I am trying to make though as far as this school is concerned they are deliberately making it easier for their students to get far higher grades than my own daughters school who are doing it fairly.

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honeybuns007 Thu 06-May-21 19:58:01

So you want to complain about a specific private school? What is the point? Thousands of schools around the country will be doing whatever they will be doing. What happens at your local private school will not affect your child

SeasonFinale Thu 06-May-21 19:58:36

Actually the private schools where there are weeks and weeks of assessments is causing so much stress for students your daughter should think herself lucky if she is only having 2 formal assessments. The school will be using other evidence too so if she has worked well she should be fine.

I would advise her to worry about her own grades, concentrate on her work and not worry about what other people are getting.

Greenmarmalade Thu 06-May-21 19:59:05

Schools ARE sitting exam after exam. Weekly class assessments or exams.

Why? Because children will have all covered different parts of the gcse course due to lockdowns so can’t do one standardised exam. And so teachers can gather evidence to support their grades because lots will be contested by students, parents, etc. and some may be checked.

JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 20:01:24

Yes she is but now feels if her friends are getting such good grades she will be a failure not to get at least equal if not better herself. My main question though was does anyone know who I can report my concerns to about this? It just doesn't seem right that schools can have such a different approach one of which is clearly unfair.

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JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 20:02:30

My daughters grammar school have NOT been having weekly exams no.

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JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 20:05:15

I know what you mean about just worrying about your own grades but peer pressure at 16 can be quite intense. Sure you can relate.

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Lockdown2021 Thu 06-May-21 20:05:53

Gavin Williamson, good luck.

SeasonFinale Thu 06-May-21 20:06:23

There is no need to report it. The schools have to submit their policy to the exam board and their method has to be approved by them. If they do not think what they are doing it will have been rejected and they will be advised how to assess the children (have evidence available). The schools' protocols all had to be submitted last week.

If an exam board is unhappy with the school's proposal they will deal with it.

JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 20:07:20

Lockdown2021

Gavin Williamson, good luck.

smile

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SeasonFinale Thu 06-May-21 20:07:55

JoannaFurneaux

I know what you mean about just worrying about your own grades but peer pressure at 16 can be quite intense. Sure you can relate.

Well this is the year where you really can worry just about yourself as there is to be no ranking and no exam to pass/fail or have a bad day in. If their is evidence that your work is worth an 8/9 or a 5/6 that is what you will get.

Lockdown2021 Thu 06-May-21 20:09:35

But seriously schools’ grade profiles have to roughly match previous years results so they cant be handing out top grades like smarties. There will be some grade inflation overall though.

JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 20:11:59

SeasonFinale

There is no need to report it. The schools have to submit their policy to the exam board and their method has to be approved by them. If they do not think what they are doing it will have been rejected and they will be advised how to assess the children (have evidence available). The schools' protocols all had to be submitted last week.

If an exam board is unhappy with the school's proposal they will deal with it.

that's reassuring but I would not put it past schools to be economical with the truth, or to quote Bill Clinton "not be forthcoming with the truth."

I have also heard about another school which is giving their students lessons for their exams then testing them the DAY after which not surprisingly is garnishing much better results as well. Whatever evidence they provide surely wont change the fact this is an advantage.

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AmazingGrapes Thu 06-May-21 20:13:04

I’m afraid to say that this was always going to happen.

Teachers in state schools have been told “do not inflate grades. Do not be tempted to inflate grades even though your motivations for doing so are well meaning” and crucially “you will not be performance managed against the grades this year so if the grades are worse than they would usually be because of Covid, it is your duty to report them as such without fear of recrimination”.

The same is theoretically true for private schools. ^^However teachers at private schools are slaves to another master than the state - the fee paying and highly emotionally invested parent. There is huge pressure for teachers and schools (they are businesses that sell grades, among other things) to perform no matter the circumstances.

Over the years the press has covered cheating in private schools and I had my own experience of it when I was a pupil at one.

It’s not fair and shouldn’t be tolerated but unfortunately there’s nothing you can do. This time, the fault lies with the government, who have made the assessment protocols and criteria so woolly that it is up to the interpretation and scruples of individual schools.

This year, schools can set their own assessments. There are a million ways to write an assessment so that it benefits your pupils. Given that there’s no clear framework it’s going to be very hard for the government to pull schools up on this.

jgw1 Thu 06-May-21 20:13:48

JoannaFurneaux

Hi all,
my daughter is currently at grammar school where they are having very strictly run exams over the course of a month. 2 per subject. One of his friends goes to a local private school. Apparently his friend at private school said they have been having exams for weeks all of which can go towards their exam grades. Her friend who previously had struggled is forecasted to get almost top marks in every subject! Another friend at the same private school is also getting much higher predicted grades. Previously had also struggled as well. This sounds extremely unfair and is putting extra pressure on my own daughter and is surely not an isolated case. Does anyone know the best place I can complain to about this? I simply want to ensure the fairest possible outcome for my own daughter which at present it sounds like she wont get.
Thank you
Jo

This is simply what the dear minister decided when he washed his hands of all responsibility for the education system in cancelling exams with no plan in place. There is still time to register your disgust at the ballot box today.

JoannaFurneaux Thu 06-May-21 20:14:37

AmazingGrapes

I’m afraid to say that this was always going to happen.

Teachers in state schools have been told “do not inflate grades. Do not be tempted to inflate grades even though your motivations for doing so are well meaning” and crucially “you will not be performance managed against the grades this year so if the grades are worse than they would usually be because of Covid, it is your duty to report them as such without fear of recrimination”.

The same is theoretically true for private schools. ^^However teachers at private schools are slaves to another master than the state - the fee paying and highly emotionally invested parent. There is huge pressure for teachers and schools (they are businesses that sell grades, among other things) to perform no matter the circumstances.

Over the years the press has covered cheating in private schools and I had my own experience of it when I was a pupil at one.

It’s not fair and shouldn’t be tolerated but unfortunately there’s nothing you can do. This time, the fault lies with the government, who have made the assessment protocols and criteria so woolly that it is up to the interpretation and scruples of individual schools.

This year, schools can set their own assessments. There are a million ways to write an assessment so that it benefits your pupils. Given that there’s no clear framework it’s going to be very hard for the government to pull schools up on this.

Amen. Excellent post thank you although if anything makes me feel even angrier!

OP’s posts: |

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