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News - 25 September 2014

Heads believe pupils are given wrong grades

According to a report by the exam regulator, Ofqual, four out of five headteachers are convinced some GCSE students are given the wrong grades

Of the 230 headteachers who took part in the survey by Ofqual, 46% said they felt marking accuracy had fallen over the last year; there was also concern that grade boundaries were not being properly set.

A clear majority, 79%, said they did not believe all GCSE students were given the right grade. On A-levels, 67% said they thought some candidates were wrongly graded.

More than 40% of heads thought Ofqual was ineffective at maintaining standards because of inconsistent marking of exam papers (which was quoted by 82% of heads, 75% of parents and students and 68% of teachers) and inconsistent grading.

Tonmoy Kumar, Manager of the Accounts Department of ABDS and an active school governor comments:
“However, the report found the A-level remains a “trusted qualification” (81% of headteachers agreed); there was however less confidence in the GCSE system, with only 55% of heads reporting the top level of confidence. Parents had the least confidence in the qualification, at 45%.”

Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said: “We continue to be worried about the constant change in GCSEs and A-levels, the removal of the January assessment opportunity and the incorrect marking of exam papers; all concerns which have been expressed before.”

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said the strong reputation of GCSEs was being eroded by constant piecemeal change. Its general secretary, Brian Lightman, said: “Parents and students are confused, employers are frustrated and teachers are overwhelmed.”

A spokesman for the AQA exam board said: “We are very focused on getting the right result for students and we have a number of quality control systems in place during the marking process. We also carry out detailed analysis to continuously improve the quality of marking. However, unfortunately we don’t always get it right and if a school is unhappy with a student’s results, they can ask us to take another look.

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.


ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
Tel: 023 8083 6900  E-mail: abds@netaccountants.net

Brilliant with numbers   
Great with people  
Clear and precise with advice
Timely and cost effective 
In touch with issues that face our clients and
mindful of their long term strategic goals

Helping Your Business is Our Business

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