Labour and the teachers’ unions have had their way: there is going to be an official inquiry into the GCSE results. The exams regulator Ofqual is only investigating the English results, though, saying there are ‘questions about how grade boundaries were set in a very small number of units across the year’.
In a letter to the National Association of Head Teachers, Ofqual chief regulator Glenys Stacey wrote:
‘We recognise the continuing concerns among students, parents and teachers about this year’s GCSE English results. We will look closely at how the results were arrived at. We will do this quickly, but thoroughly, so that we ensure confidence is maintained in our examinations system.’
Evidence will be gathered over the next week, and Ofqual will then meet awarding bodies to discuss its findings. Stacey is right to emphasise the importance of a speedy investigation into any possible anomalies or unfair movement of grade boundaries: otherwise, what is largely good news that grade inflation in GCSEs as well as A levels will be overshadowed by a row about pupils being unfairly marked down in some cases. As Alex Forrest points out, those complaining about these results include head teachers of academies, as well as Michael Gove’s usual opponents in the unions. Douglas Murray blogged yesterday that the results overall suggest a return to credibility in our examination system: it is important that this credibility is not undermined, especially now Gove is leaning towards reforming GCSEs rather than replacing them with O levels.Tags: Education, GCSEs, Michael Gove, UK politics