Always sound advice at the end of an examination and even at this late stage OFQUAL, the exams watchdog, may be forced to go back and correct the results of this summer’s examinations. The High Court starts hearing today the arguments put by, amongst others, Brian Lightman (left) of ASCL (a pretty moderate ‘union’ representing head teachers and college principals) that OFQUAL and the examination boards acted unfairly in raising the GCSE English grade boundary for achieving a C by ten marks between January and June this year. Schools believe thousands of students were unfairly awarded a D when their work merited a C with, in some cases, serious consequences for students’ future education opportunities.
The suspicion has been that OFQUAL were expected to fulfil Michael Gove’s belief that exam results would be depressed this summer to ‘prove’ lowering standards and thus justify his plans for examination reform. If the January grade boundaries had held in June the results would have gone up.
Lightman and the others seemed quite confident when interviewed on BBC 24 hour news this morning. It will apparently take three days for the court to hear the evidence and make a decision.
*Footnote : teachers are no longer allowed to enter exam rooms so are never in a position to give this sensible but fairly bland advice.