Thursday 10 September 2015

Ofqual's Response to English GCSE / IGCSE 2015

Many thanks to Ofual and here is the pass rates against expected for each board for English  2015


No reporting Tolerances Applied

Why has Pearson with a lower expected outcome come out with a higher pass rate than AQA?

To allow one set of Qualifications to have no reporting tolerance is just remarkable.  Schools have reported the Coursework for IGCSE was marked down but without the above information there is no way I can show what this blog hopped to achieve.  They did have a slight drop in the pass rate but I am as convinced as before that this would not have been reflected in the expected progress figure.

The new Ofsted data dashboard certainly looks like it will take prior attainment into consideration but I feel the table above still shows the results that it is based on can not be used to show a true reflection of all pupils progress.

Thanks for reading
Chris Beeden

Thursday 20 August 2015

The GCSE results are now public and thank you to JCQ for the following information.

It states there has been a 2.5% increase in the pass rate for GCSE English for 16 Year olds,  This is higher than the 1% I was worried would be the case but not near the 7% that could have been expected given the 7% swap to IGCSE English. As stated I have asked Oqual to release the progress for each board for both GCSE and IGCSE.  I am still convinced there is no standard across the two types of exam.   I will publish this data when I receive it.

The Dfe must now check and then publish in Raise on Line all the progress measures including and excluding IGCSEs.  

Thank you for reading


Thursday 13 August 2015

English GCSE Results 2015 update

Having created my blog a couple of months ago the Cambridge IGCSE results have been published.  This shows a 1.1% drop in A* - C pass rate.  This is with a completely different cohort from 2014 as the numbers below show.  I am now very worried that the impact on the GCSE results next week will be significant.

Number of candidates
Cumulative* percentages by grade
June 2015
June 2014
*Percentages are cumulative. For example, in June 2015, 63% of students achieved a grade C or above

I have made a Freedom of Information request to Ofqual for the KS2 to KS4 expected progress against actual outcomes for IGCSE and GCSE  English for all the individual exam Boards 2015 and 2014.  This will highlight any issues that may have taken place.  There are many many implications that then follow from this that I will return to.

Chris Beeden

Friday 26 June 2015

GCSE English 2015

I have now analysed GCSE results for the best part of 20 years.  This was a fairly predictable job, generally a slight increase year on year (the headline was usually "Best Results Ever!"), until August 2012 when suddenly it all changed and without warning GSCE English went down by two or three percent.  Since that incredible day I have kept an eye on this situation.  In 2014 I believe that there was a one or two percent drop in GCSE English when looked at by progress from Keystage 2.  These may sound small percentages but a 1% drop is over 3,000 pupils.  

I have during this year become increasingly concerned about the 2015 GCSE results and the effect on the system that a substantial number of learners having switched to English IGCSE would have. Are we facing a potential 7% drop in the pass rate this year for GCSE English?  This Ofqual document shows that there has been a 7% drop in GCSE English entries for 2015

IGCSE’s it can be argued are more accessible for Pupils with lower prior attainments and 60% of the qualification is made up of speaking and listening and coursework. They are really well suited for many learners and it is fantastic that they provide a route to success for many pupils.

The Government sets Floor standard for Schools as the link shows  I believe that the majority of learners that have switched to the IGCSE come from schools where this floor standard is a significant issue.  Put this another way I suspect that the majority of learners that have switched will have a lower prior attainment. I am not as yet able to prove this point.

The GCSE pass rate is approximately 70%. Exam boards are under huge political pressure to maintain a high standard and will be reluctant to increase the pass rate.  (The 2018 approved qualification list is yet to be published.)  If it remains at 70% then many learners who without the national switch over would have achieved a C grade will drop to D or lower.  Upscale this to all boards and it is 20,000 young lives hampered.   If the cohort that sit the exam have a higher prior attainment the expectancy is that the pass rate will go up by I am worried that exam boards will be very reluctant to do this. It will be a brave exam board that increases its pass rate by 7%.  Looking at it from the other point of view, if the IGCSE remains with a pass rate of 66% with a cohort of lower prior attainment is that fair?

The above has been on my mind, mentioned on tweets and mentioned to colleagues for the last few weeks.  I was so glad to see this Ofqual blog -
 The worries that I have had are being looked at by Mrs Stacey at Ofqual.  Having read this I then went through the links and came across the Data Exchange link.  This is a fascinating insight into what is happening to regulate GCSE outcomes – it is all very impressive.  I was though then worried when on page 14 it states for IGCSE “There are no reporting tolerances applied”. Is this fair?  I am new to looking at all this so please look yourself at how tolerances are applied or not.

Ofqual are certainly fully aware of this issue and the information that they are publishing is fantastic. This issue will be with us this year and next year but will not be there in 2017 when the new GCSE are taken.  I expect in 2016 the entry for IGCSE to go up even higher. How this though will be resolved is what now needs to be closely watched. Do the exam boards feel they can announce such large changes to pass rates?   For schools the solution is straightforward – publish two lots of progress figures one for GCSE and one for IGCSEs.  The main issue is fairness to the learners and it is how Ofqual ensure this that we need to keep our eye on.  Thank you to Ofqual for being so open and I really hope that you successfully resolve this situation in the next month.
Chris Beeden