Friday 12 February 2016

IGCSE 2016

Last year the impact of IGCSE English results without any reporting tolerance added to them was significant on the overall outcomes for all learners.  In the summer action was taken by the great and good to ensure that IGCSE English outcomes were kept sensible though this had varying consequences for pupils and schools.  This year the problem has started early and our friends at the Dfe need to take a wee look at it.

Ofqual have helpfully as ever released this

I have asked Ofqual to provide the number of entries for the last 3 years for November IGCSE.  The Cambridge International Examinations Board refused to give me this information.  The claim at a PIXL conference was that schools were reporting an 80% pass rate from November IGCSEs.  It actually came in at 71.1%   These results were not compared to Keystage 2 results and were certainly not assessed against the new national reference tests.

Over 41,000 pupils from this Cohort have taken this exam in November.  This means almost 30,000 pupils have already passed the exam.  This will be approximately 8% of the cohort.  I do not know if the IGCSE will this year be subject to reporting tolerance in the summer of 2016 - it has to be if the system is to retain any hint of fairness.

You may be thinking that the November Series GCSE is for re-sits only but as Ofqual point out in the document.  "The re-sit only rule in November does not apply to Level 1/ Level 2 certificates, and students may still enter for a Level 1/ Level 2 certificate for the first time in November."

So what happens from here.  The pupils who sit GCSE English in the summer 2016 should be treated fairly.  They were not in 2015.  All exams should be made to go through the reported tolerance exercise.  This year the progress 8 calculation for schools has to be done twice -once including IGCSEs and once without.  It was so unfair that Raise on Line was published last year with absolutely no reference to the English GCSE farce of the Summer of 2015.

I await the response from the great and good of Education.

Chris Beeden

Sunday 3 January 2016

Ofqual 2015 Summer Exam Series report

Thank you to Ofqual for their latest report on the issues that took place last summer, published at the end of December.

The following two paragraphs go some way to show the issues that took place,

"We asked Cambridge International to provide us with the evidence for how they had come to its awarding decisions in 2015. In setting standards in IGCSEs, Cambridge International use very similar evidence to the GCSE exam boards. Cambridge International considered predictions based on KS2 prior attainment and comparisons of the results for 'benchmark centres' - schools with stable entries for this syllabus in 2014 and 2015. Evidence from the benchmark centres suggested that to tighten grade standards as far as Cambridge International had intended (in relation to KS2 predictions) would have been too severe. 

The other factor that made awarding more challenging was the bunching of marks, particularly around the C/D boundaries. On one paper, the difference between C and A was only 4 marks. We concluded that Cambridge International had carried out its grading appropriately. Cambridge International has carried out further analysis since the summer and is confident that their grading was appropriate." 

Next I will look at the November 2015 entry pattern and results.

I presume but do not yet know that Ofqual will insist that Cambridge International have to provide progress tolerance statistics in 2016.