Time for an independent investigation

16th November 2012 at 00:00

Ofqual's report on the GCSE English awards ("Students who were not overmarked have suffered, admits Ofqual", 9 November) seems to contain the astonishing admission that GCSE English has been virtually impossible to examine for years, for which reason awarding bodies have had to rely increasingly on statistical measures to ensure consistency of awards year-on-year.

Unfortunately, one of the key statistical benchmarks used for this process is performance in key stage 2 tests, but these tests have also been shown to be difficult to mark and are therefore unreliable as an indicator of children's abilities in English.

Moreover, this over-reliance on statistical parameters effectively puts a cap on achievement by ensuring that pass rates remain stagnant. This is totally unacceptable and calls into question Ofqual's role as a regulator. The unspoken message emanating loud and clear from this report is that we urgently need an independent investigation into what really happened with the summer 2012 GCSE English awards.

Ian Toone, Senior professional officer (education), Voice: the union for education professionals.

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