Chapter one: How Ofqual left teachers 'disgusted'

9th November 2012 at 00:00

Ofqual accuses teachers of overmarking controlled assessments to ensure their pupils gain a "safe C" grade in GCSE English or English language. Teachers are berated for either not understanding the standards to which they should be teaching or deliberately inflating marks awarded for controlled assessment in order to protect themselves from the wrath of Gove if they fail to reach the floor target of 40 per cent of pupils achieving five A*-C grades in the English Baccalaureate subjects.

Ofqual's report notes that "Teachers' understanding of a 'safe C' comes from historic grade boundaries (as published by the exam boards) and their own professional judgement of the standard of work required to achieve a C grade".

Precisely. Where else could teachers gain this understanding? They are required to make public predictions about grades, and yet their judgements are made to look absurd when a new examination is so structurally flawed.

In a recent issue of the English Association journal The Use of English, Geoff Barton argued that English teachers at all levels and in all places need to come together to argue with a passion for what English is and what it can do for us all.

Teachers of English everywhere hope that Ofqual, Ofsted and the Department for Education are listening.

Adrian Barlow, Chair, The English Association.

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