Havering’s 2020 GCSE Results: Part One

The government’s Covid-19 education policy depends on Year Eleven teachers grading and ranking students to replace GCSE examinations. This task was completed on 12th June, 2020.

1) Teachers must produce an order of merit for their students

2) Teachers must ‘award’ GCSE grades based on that order of merit within each grade. Therefore every grade 9 student is ranked, likewise grade 8 students and so on.

Heads of Centre must sign a declaration confirming the centre assessment grades and rank order are a true representation of their students’ performance, before checking the data for accuracy, and submitting it to the exam board. p5*

The government is aware that teachers who support their students might subjectively slide into grade inflation, so grades are subject to statistical analysis.

So that the final grades awarded are as fair as possible, exam boards will standardise the judgements for each subject across different centres once they have been submitted, using a statistical methodology developed in conjunction with Ofqual. p4**

The government’s statisticians understand bias and its dangers. This is discussed on pages p10-11*. The ranking order won’t be altered but grades might be,

However, if grading judgements in a subject in some schools and colleges appear to be more severe or generous than others, exam boards will adjust the grades of some or all of those students upwards or downwards accordingly. This means that the centre assessment grades submitted by schools and colleges and the final grade that students receive could be different. It also means that adjustments to centre assessment grades might be different in different subjects. P9*

Using the 2019 GCSE results of Sacred Heart of Mary for example, a prediction that 19 students of Religious Studies should be awarded grade 9, will probably be agreed. Alternatively predicting 19 grade 9 successes in Mathematics would probably be downgraded. This is due to a significant differential between the subject outcomes in previous years.

The government’s advice is this,

If, when compared to the evidence… your judgements in a subject are more generous than would be expected, then the final grades for some or all of your students will be adjusted down. P11**

Teachers, parents and students at Sacred Heart are at a significant advantage to 15 Havering schools, as they publish results subject by subject. It’s the school that’s being graded. Individual students aren’t graded at Examination Board level.

Ofqual…. shows that for the vast majority of schools and colleges any year-on year variation in results for a given subject is quite small. In 2015 and 2016, 90% of centres were classed as having stable outcomes and 8.5% of centres were classed as having ‘unstable results’. Only 0.8% of centres had results that increased by more than the national average change in both 2015 and 2016 and only 0.5% of centres had results that decreased more than the national average change in both 2015 and 2016. p10*

Covid-19 has turned traditional examinations upside down. The historic performance of schools is now all important.*** Teachers have had a heavy burden placed on their shoulders as they adjudicate the GCSE grades of their students during this emergency.

Notes

Sacred Heart’s 2019 GCSE results in detail https://sacredheartofmary.net/wp-content/uploads/Exresult2019-1.pdf

* https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/890811/Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_A_level_guidance_for_teachers_students_parents_09062020.pdf When there is quotation from this document there will be page reference and *

** https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887018/Summer_2020_Awarding_GCSEs_A_levels_-_Info_for_Heads_of_Centre_22MAY2020.pdf When there is quotation from this there will be page reference and **

*** In a fast moving situation this has been modified https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/coronavirus/gcse-and-a-level-pupils-can-sit-exams-if-they-don-t-like-coursework-grade/ar-BB169yfX?ocid=msedgntp accessed 30th June 2020

Sources

For the worst performing school in England see https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/breaking-englands-worst-schools-revealed-13899939 The list is, …. based on how teenagers at each of the country’s secondary schools performed in their GCSE exams in 2018, taking into account progress not attainment.Drapers & Brittons feature from Havering.

For the general advice the government is offering see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/890811/Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_A_level_guidance_for_teachers_students_parents_09062020.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/awarding-qualifications-in-summer-2020

For the government’s specific advice to schools see https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887018/Summer_2020_Awarding_GCSEs_A_levels_-_Info_for_Heads_of_Centre_22MAY2020.pdf

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