Coronavirus: Fears schools may 'exploit' GCSE grading

Ofqual concerned that schools and pupils may try to exploit new teacher assessed GCSE and A-level grading in wake of summer exam cancellations

Catherine Lough

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England's exams regulator fears that schools and colleges and students might try to "exploit" this year's teacher-assessed exam grading system, it revealed today.

Ofqual says it is concerned that some could seek to "inappropriately"  influence the grades and rank orders that teachers will have to give GCSE and A-level candidates this summer.

The watchdog wants to make sure that exam boards are able to investigate this "potential malpractice".


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In a consultation on the arrangements published today, Ofqual says: "We recognise the possibility that some centres, students and others may try to exploit the exceptional arrangements we propose to put in place this summer, including by seeking inappropriately to influence centre assessment grades or rank order information.

"We expect exam boards to make sure the arrangements they have in place to comply with our current rules are flexible enough to allow this to be investigated as potential malpractice, leading to the potential imposition of sanctions."

After exams were cancelled for this summer, schools have been asked to give exam boards the grades they think pupils would have achieved had exams gone ahead, based on teacher assessments, and a rank order of pupils for each grade in each subject.

Ofqual also said that centre the grades and pupils’ rank order must not be shared with anyone other than the school’s headteacher, including following the release of the results, and that if a pupil’s rank order or calculated grade is shared with anyone other than the headteacher, this will be treated as an example of malpractice and maladministration.

Pupils would only be able to access their rank order position through a formal data protection request after results are released.

The consultation will end on Wednesday 29 April.

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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