The general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has criticised the Department for Education’s announcement that mock exam results will now carry equal weight to calculated grades.
“The idea of introducing at the eleventh hour a system in which mock exam results trump calculated grades beggars belief,” said Geoff Barton.
Pupils getting A-level results this week can accept their estimated grade or change it for a mark gained in a mock exam. Or they can instead choose to take a written exam in the autumn. The same system will be used for BTEC and GCSE results.
Barton said: “The government doesn’t appear to understand how mock exams work. They aren’t a set of exams which all conform to the same standards. The clue is in the name ‘mock’. And some students will not have taken them by the time that schools were closed in March. So, this immediately creates the potential for massive inconsistency.
Schools and colleges have spent months diligently following detailed guidance to produce centre-assessed grades only to find they might as well not have bothered – Geoff Barton
“Schools and colleges have spent months diligently following detailed guidance to produce centre-assessed grades only to find they might as well not have bothered. There is certainly concern about the standardisation process applied by the exam boards, but there are also good reasons for having this system in place because it ensures that this year’s grades are roughly in line with those of previous years, and this is important in terms of fairness to students over time.
“If the government wanted to change the system it should have spent at least a few days discussing the options rather than rushing out a panicked and chaotic response.”