80% of head teachers losing confidence in GCSEs as lack of trust in grades is revealed

Ofqual survey shows two out of five heads and teachers believing at least a quarter of pupils have been given wrong marks

Education Editor

A widespread lack of confidence in the GCSE exam has been revealed in a survey of heads and teachers published by exams regulator Ofqual.

In all, 80 per cent of heads say they have less confidence in the GCSE than a year ago - largely as a result of the marking fiasco which saw the grade boundary in English for a C grade raised in between January and June sitting.

The survey also reveals a remarkable lack of trust in the accuracy of both GCSE grades and A-level grades awarded to pupils - with almost two out of five heads and teachers believing at least one in four pupils have been given the wrong marks. That would mean 150,000 pupils every year ending up with the wrong grades.

Ofqual’s report says the percentage of heads and teachers feeling confident about GCSEs was around 30 per cent lower than A-levels.

“The controversy (over the marking of English) also had a significant impact on the public’s confidence (in GCSEs),” the survey adds. “Two-fifths of the public and parents who had heard of the controversy reported that their confidence in the system had been affected “a lot” or “a fair amount” by the saga.

Lack of confidence had also spread to employers with 55 per cent of those in charge of small businesses also expressing reservations about the exam.

The Department for Education said the lack of confidence bolstered the need for reforming the exam - Education Secretary Michael Gove is planning to scrap the current modular approach to GCSE and most coursework. and go back to end-of-course exams.  The new-style GCSEs will be introduced into the classroom in September 2015.

“The Secretary of State warned when he came to office that the GCSE system had serious weaknesses and needed fundamental reform,” said a spokesman for the Department for Education. “The report shows these concerns are widespread.

“The changes we are making will restore confidence in GCSEs.”

However, many headteachers’ leaders argue that confidence has drained as a result of the exam boards being pressurised by Ofqual to change the boundaries and keep the results broadly the same as last year.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The drop in confidence is about the way the exams were marked not about modular exams or GCSE as a qualification.

“In no way does it justify claims by policy makers that GCSE is not fit for purpose.”

Glenys Stacey, Ofqual’s chief regulator, said: “We want to see confidence in GCSEs return as they become more robust and assessment is seen to be, and is, fair and accurate.  I think there is an appetite for change and improvement.”

By contrast, the survey has shown teachers’ confidence in A-levels growing.  Last year, 84 per cent of heads and 86 per cent of teachers said they were confident in the system.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Are you looking for part time/ ...

SEN (SLD/PMLD) Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence