It’s that time of year again.
The month of August is synonymous with many things; holidays, sun, festivals and… exam results.
Yet again the media is saturated with news stories about the latest GCSE and A Level grades.
Typically, this coverage criticises adjudicators for marking papers too leniently or for exam content being too easy.
However, this year’s reports on the annual batch of GCSE results buck the trend, stating that exam papers have apparently been marked too harshly, particularly in English, resulting in an increased number of fails. Complaints from teachers are in abundance as they blame their poor results on the fact that grade boundaries in English have increased substantially.
It seems an impossible quandary – too easy and we complain, too difficult and we……. complain!
Yet as pointed out by Glenys Stacey, chief executive of exams regulator Ofqual: “If the qualification and the type of student is broadly the same, then results will be broadly the same. Any difference in results in English or other subjects will reflect differences in the make-up of the group taking the exam, in terms of the numbers or their abilities.”
Whatever the issue is, whether exams are easier as usually stated or, are indeed more challenging, there’s one point that’s certain – it’s the kids we’ve got to feel sorry for.
After spending years in education, months of revision and high stress for many, can’t we simply give them a break and praise them for what they have achieved?