Over recent weeks I have, understandably, been contacted by a number of teachers, parents and pupils about changes to the grade boundaries for GCSE English in June compared to January. I do have enormous sympathy for the young people in Lincoln who took GCSEs this year and did not get the results they expected.
The decision, however, about grade boundaries is made by the exam boards and I would like to assure you, completely free from political pressure.
In response to calls for an independent inquiry into the marking of the papers, I do not think it is necessary or appropriate. Ofqual is the independent exams regulator. It is their job is to make sure that standards are maintained over time and that students receive the grades that they deserve.
There has been a widespread debate over the last two decades about whether there has been grade inflation. It is for this reason that the Government strengthened Ofqual’s powers to make sure the system is robust and rigorous and to give the public real confidence in the results.
More generally, I welcome the recent announcement by the Education Secretary, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, to reform the future of examinations and assessments in our schools. In the core academic subjects that make up the English Baccalaureate, English, mathematics, sciences, history, geography and languages, the Government intends to replace current GCSEs with new qualifications, to be called English Baccalaureate Certificates.
These reforms will ensure that pupils have truly rigorous exams, which are competitive with the best in the world and make opportunity more equal for every child.
— Also read: Counterview: GCSE review is not fair on pupils