Accompanying the statistics outlined in an earlier post, Ofqual has written an open letter to schools ahead of this summer’s Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 exams. As well as providing advice on securing papers and specific GCSEs, the letter advises on how grades will be awarded and how the introduction of new AS qualifications may affect results.
Ofqual advise that “while nationally results may remain steady, we know that schools and colleges can see variability in their results year to year even when qualifications do not change. But we also know that when qualifications do change, schools and colleges can typically see more variability in their results. As a result, we expect this summer's changes to AS levels will mean that individual school or college results will be more variable than in recent years. We will publish more information on this when results are published”. Ofqual stated that, with any new exam syllabus, the standard is generally lower as pupils and teachers get used to the new system. However, Ofqual did stress that they would minimise any unfair disadvantage for students taking these new exams.
When questioning the headteacher on exam results, particularly AS level performance, governors should take into account how changes to the system may impact their school.