Latest from Mrs OFQUAL (aka the so-called government ‘exams watchdog’). An edict was issued a couple of weeks ago that students who take the January module of the GCSE English exam. will get their ‘raw scores’ reported in March but not an indicative grade. On the face of it, this seems sensible as it will enable the exam boards to manipulate the final grades when all the coursework marks and June exam marks are in, thus avoiding an exam debacle two years running (as Oscar Wilde might have said, “To have cocked up one year’s exam results looks like…”, never mind). However, there are problems for schools and students (why on earth does that matter?!).
Some of the students planning to take the January exam already sat it once (in June at the end of Year 10) . This is their second and last chance (contrary to popular propaganda, students can’t continue taking exams until they pass – they can just take them twice). They can’t do anything about not knowing the result until August although a ‘pass’ in March might give them an incentive to do well in the remaining parts of the qualifications. The dilemma for schools and teachers is, do you continue with the entry they are geared up for in January or continue teaching on the grounds they might do better with more teacher input (has to be offset against the fact they’ll have lots of other exams at the same time)?
Other students, also in Year 11 are (or were) planning to take it early so they could have a second crack in June if they don’t pass. If you don’t know what they got you can’t decide whether they need to take it a second time.
Overall, the main problem has been the lateness of the announcement of the decision although exam boards have offered a ‘free withdrawal’.