Schools Training

Schools manipulating exams system with tactical appeals, says regulator

14 FEB 2014


Schools are attempting to manipulate the exams system by issuing spurious appeals against results in an effort to improve their pupils’ grades, the qualifications regulator has said.

Ofqual suggested that the GCSE and A-level appeals process was designed for a “more innocent era” and was being used tactically by teachers under pressure to secure good results.

Its report appears to back claims from headteachers that staff are under excessive stress from the Department for Education to improve pupils’ exam grades.

Ofqual said evidence suggested an increase in appeals against results. Examiners dealing with appeals may be looking for extra marks to award to students as they are conscious that the final result could have a major impact on a youngster’s future, it found.

Glenys Stacey, the chief regulator, said the appeals system was “not good enough” and Ofqual would launch a “fundamental redesign” of the process.

“The analysis … has shown that there is tactical appealing at critical grade boundaries – C/D at GCSE and B/A at A-level. That doesn’t mean that every appeal at that boundary is tactical, but you can see from the pattern that it would suggest there is tactical appealing.

“Secondly, the way the appeal system is designed at the moment, and indeed headteachers agree with us, is that where you’re within a couple of marks of such a grade boundary it’s worth appealing because it is a one-way bet. As a regulator we need to look at that and see if we can design an appeals system which is fair, transparent and effective,” she said.


Read full article: The Guardian