In March this year, the Secretary of State for Education, announced that GCSE and A-Level examinations would be cancelled this summer and replaced by predicted grades, based on an assessment of the grade students would have been most likely to achieve had exams gone ahead. Ofqual, the government body responsible for regulating qualifications, examinations and assessments in England, subsequently published guidelines that states teachers must ‘use their professional experience to make a fair and objective judgement’ on student grades.
While revelations in the Guardian newspaper that a private school in Kent has been accused of exaggerating grades may not come as a surprise to some, the article highlights the fact that this new regime will undoubtedly exacerbate inequality and improve outcomes for those in the most privileged of education systems. Predicted grades have always been problematic as they are inconsistently applied with some students exceeding their predicted grades and others falling short. This will be to the detriment of some categories of students, who are perceived to be low achieving but will usually perform better than expected in examinations.
With some parents mounting legal challenges against Ofqual and others expressing their frustration with the changes to exam regulations, further legal challenges will follow.
Comment written by Louise Plumstead, Education Law