Too far to reach for the stars

9th February 1996 at 00:00
On receiving the marks obtained by our top fifth-form mathematics set in their GCSE examination taken in November, I noticed that the borderline between and A and starred A grade was about 4 per cent higher than usual. We had not thought that the papers were noticeably easier.

It appeared that one candidate would have obtained a starred A had her weighted average mark been 0.027 per cent higher. I wrote to the chief examiner, who confirmed this.

He informed me that the grade boundary between A and starred A, and also between C and B, was determined by a formula prescribed by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and that the board was not allowed to consider the quality of scripts in the boundary region in determining the precise grade boundary, as had been its practice until two years ago. A fall in the CD boundary mark had led to a rise in the boundary mark between grades A and starred A.

Is this not educational bureaucracy gone berserk? Is a faceless bureaucrat better qualified to determine whether work is of sufficient quality to merit a starred A than an experienced chief examiner with access to the candidates' scripts?

MH McCALL Head of mathematics The King's School Gloucester Pitt Street, Gloucester.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now