The Daily Telegraph

Teachers’ prediction­s would boost GCSES

- By Camilla Turner EDUCATION EDITOR

GCSE grades would be boosted by nine percentage points overall if teachers’ prediction­s were used instead of relying on an algorithm, the exam regulator has said.

If teachers’ recommende­d marks, known as “centre-assessed grades” or CAGS, were awarded the number of pupils receiving top marks, defined as those graded 7 or above, would rise from 24.7 per cent to 31.6 per cent, according to calculatio­ns by the Office of Qualificat­ions and Examinatio­ns Regulation (Ofqual).

Meanwhile, there would be a 13.3 per cent increase in the number of passes at grade 4 – equivalent to a grade C – or above, from 72.7 per cent to 82.4 per cent. Ofqual said that overall, grades would increase by nine percentage points if predicted grades were used.

Last week, close to 40 per cent of Alevel results were downgraded by the statistica­l model that Ofqual drew up to standardis­e results and experts predict that the fallout from GCSE results will be even greater.

Prof Mike Larkin, an emeritus professor of microbiolo­gy at Queen’s University Belfast who has analysed the algorithm in detail, said that the size of the year group has a big effect on the extent to which results are downgraded.

The issue with A-level results where bigger comprehens­ive schools saw their results downgraded to a larger extent than smaller private schools will be “magnified” with GCSE results, he added. “With more students in cohorts above 15, you could guess that more would be downgraded,” he said.

“Around 4.6million GCSES in England – about 97 per cent of the total – will be assigned solely by the algorithm drawn up by the exam regulator.”

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the independen­t schools council and a former Ofqual board member, said GCSE results day will bring about a “tidal wave of disaster”. He said that since there is less at stake for GCSES, more lenience with results could be shown without doing too much damage.

Ofqual has previously said that relying on teachers’ prediction­s would have led to grades being “implausibl­y” high.

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