ON OFQUAL – where has the morality gone?

It is hard when you feel that a great injustice has been done to those who, as a teacher, you sign on to help and develop to the best of their potential. Today, OFQUAL, in a good impression of Pontius Pilate have washed their hands of the GCSE grading fiasco, despite thanking those of us who have been complaining for helping them to uncover a previously missed instance of poor marking.
In short, the response to the discovery of over generous marking and grading in January has been to penalise the next available cohort by grabbing back some of this generosity. And this is OK?
Of course it isn’t. It is the sad equivalent of a wonderful Two Ronnies sketch in which a mastermind contestant gave responses to the previous question. There has been a cock up but no one will take responsibility. The only ones to suffer are the students who have been cheated out of their possible C grades by this goal-post shift. Their reward is to be refused entry to FE courses and VIth forms and to be offered a resit.

Consider: 6 months after any formal teaching, such a student can resit an exam on which his whole future lies, not because he under performed, but because some students have apparently been awarded a higher grade in an exam period in which he was not even examined. How can that be fair?

Consider the schools now faced with opening enrollment again and trying to fit a coherent resit timetable into a crowded and fully staffed weekly teaching timetable.

Consider the double mess in November when the exam boards try to process these marks in such a way to be of use to a young student who needed the grade now. Will there be any compensation for such a student if they attain a pass in November, but find courses they might have enrolled onto this summer are full and will not take them at that stage?

What a mess. OFQUAL in a complacent and insulting report(we know GCSEs are complex) have clearly admitted that there have been errors but have shown no will to engage with the real issue: it’s the students, stupid! Students are not data, they are fragile humans embarking on their adult lives. And this is how you show them respect?

Next year there are new syllabi and grades may well drop somewhat, but we are all working to prepare students for these new exams. Is it a surprise that if this site, one of many offering resources and advice, was receiving an average of 500 visits a day in May, we find students who are better prepared year on year? No one wants to see Stalinist production figures for exam grades, but before you ruin the lives of many vulnerable 16 year olds, consider this: we taught them and advised them based on exam board materials and evidence from the moderation and grading of previous exams. They listened and worked hard. Many attained marks worthy of a grade C. OFQUAL have just supported the penalising of these students for no fault of their own.


I hope they all get A* in the resit!

Year 13 TOKKISTS consider- are teachers too driven by emotion here? Are OFQUAL so reasoned that they can not achieve knowledge in any meaningful sense? Is the perception of an injustice the same as an injustice having taken place?