40% drop in children sitting GCSEs early, Ofqual figures show
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Friday 01 August 2014
A dramatic drop in the number of children pushed by schools into taking their GCSE exams a year early is revealed in new statistics published by exams regulator Ofqual.
Figures show the number of pupils taking the exam after Year 10 has fallen this year from 843,000 to 504,000, a drop of 40 per cent.
The slump follows concern over a growing trend of entering pupils early to bank a C grade, which can aid schools' exam league table positions. A handful of pupils were being entered for maths exams as many as eight or nine times.
As a result, former Education Secretary Michael Gove changed the rules so only a pupil’s first attempt to sit an exam could count towards their school’s league table position.
The drop, one of a number of changes which exam boards and Ofqual admit will create more “volatility” in this year’s GCSE ands A-level results, could actually lead to an improvement in results, as pupils will hved a longer lead-in period to sitting the exam.
The figures also show a widespread decision by schools to ditch English and English Literature GCSE exams, with the number of entries falling by 28 per cent to 390,000 In the main, this is thought to be due to changes in the exam, which mean assessing speaking and listening skills, an area that some schools did well in, will no longer count towards the final exam. In addition, the end-of-year exam now counts for 60 per cent of the marks, compared with just 40 per cent last year.
Ofqual’s analysis shows schools have instead put their pupils in for the International GCSE, which is modelled along traditional O-level lines but retains speaking and listening skills for grading purposes. The number of candidates for IGCSE has risen by 96 per cent to 139,000.
All this is coupled with a move towards end-of-course exams and away from coursework, and is likely to cause fluctuations in individual schools’ results.
Exam boards plan to write an open letter to teachers, governors and parents explaining the impact all the changes might have on exam results.
“We may see a volatility in the rank-ordering of schools,” the Joint Council for Qualifications, the umbrella body representing exam boards, said.
Meanwhile, exam boards are to be told to change French, Spanish and German A-level exams after an investigation into falling student numbers and the lack of top grades being awarded in modern languages. The changes will be made in time for next summer’s exams.
David Haines remembered: Death of British hostage executed by Isis lamented from the Balkans to Sudan
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
Jennifer Lawrence to make public appearance after nude photo hacking scandal as Met Gala Ball 2015 co-host
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained in Los Angeles after being mistaken for a prostitute
George Galloway on Scottish independence: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Scottish independence: Britain faces 'constitutional crisis' at next election
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
- 1 Scotland independence vote: Everything you ever wanted to know about life after the result
- 2 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Piers Morgan attempts to save the Union by promising to go back to the US if Scotland votes 'No' to independence
- 5 Tyler, The Creator says having the new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and i...
£50 - £65 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: We are looking for flexible and...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...
£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...