GCSEs: Overhaul Means Results Are ‘incomparable To Previous Years’

Headteachers have warned that the "unprecedented changes" made to this year’s English and maths GCSE exams have made it impossible to compare this year’s results with those of previous years. As hundreds of thousands of pupils wait to receive their results on Thursday morning, the changes to the examination system this year, the biggest in England since GCSEs replaced O-levels 30 years ago, will mean that any year-on-year comparisons will be "unjust and unreliable". With a grading system running from 9 to 1, the extent of the changes has prompted concerns that schools may be unfairly penalised in the Department for Education’s performance tables. The new system differentiates better between student achievements and signals to employers that the students have completed more challenging content, according to Sally Collier, Ofqual’s chief regulator.

According to Dawe, English and mathematics are essential for the entire populace, but the current resits policy is leading to a significant failure rate. As a solution, Dawe suggests that the government should abandon the existing policy and instead focus on promoting functional skill development as a more effective solution.

The implementation of the resits policy has resulted in an influx of older students taking English and mathematics. As a result, the primary determinant of the results will be based on the performance of 16-year-old students. The statistics from last year indicate that among all students in England, less than 67% were able to achieve good grades of C or above in five subjects. However, this year’s examinations are expected to show an improvement.

It is worth mentioning that the new examination system has only been piloted in England. This has created a significant disparity in the education system between England, Wales, and Northern Ireland since the devolution.


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