'Championing the rights of children'

Exams chief warns against emphasis on English and maths GCSEs

Garry Thu 09 May 2013 08:26

Ofqual chief says schools' performance should be measured on progress made in subjects over five years.

Overall progress by pupils studying English and maths is a better measure of school performance than an over-emphasis on exam results, England's exam regulator has told the government in response to its overhaul of secondary school accountability.

The letter to the education secretary, Michael Gove, from Glenys Stacey, chief regulator of the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), suggests the government's reforms have not yet succeeded in ironing out distortions in the school league tables, which reward schools that raise students' exam results from Ds to Cs at the expense of pupils on either side of that threshold.

Stacey also said parents and the government should be braced for greater fluctuations in exam results following the reform of GCSEs, and called for increasingly popular qualifications such as iGCSE and BTech to receive more oversight from regulators if they are to be included in government performance metrics.

Ofqual's comments follow the Department for Education's decision to scrap league tables based on the percentage of pupils who achieved C or higher at GCSE. The measure is to be replaced by two new league tables: one using a school's English and maths GCSE grades, and a "Best 8" using an average points score to gauge the progress made by pupils in eight subjects between the end of primary school and GCSE results.

Stacey said English and maths should be given greater weight in the government's proposed measure as "the qualifications recognised as most likely to improve students' life", but warned against using exam results in the two subjects alone.

Read more ... (The Guardian - 8 May)