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Exam chief in bid to explain new changes

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 07, 2014

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EXAM chiefs have issued a detailed breakdown to how it will regulate the awarding of GCSEs, AS and A-levels to pupils in Burton and South Derbyshire this year.

Glenys Stacey, chief regulator at Ofqual, spoke out in an open letter to parents, pupils and teachers as part of an effort to talk about significant changes to qualifications and how this might impact people in the area.

She said: “The changes to GCSEs and A -levels this summer have also changed the nature of the summer cohort.

“The move to a linear approach to GCSEs, with exams at the end of the course rather than in modules throughout, means that, for example, there are many more students entering GCSE mathematics this summer than last summer. In recent years, many of these students would have taken mathematics in January or March. And the fact that only the first attempt at a GCSE counts for performance tables will mean some schools will have changed their entry patterns still further.

“At AS and A-level, the removal of the January exam series has meant students could not take one unit early, or re-sit an AS unit in Year 13. As a result, the overall entries are higher this summer compared to summer 2013.

“Collectively these changes in the student mix are likely to result in a little more variability than usual, school by school.

“When qualifications change we would expect individual school results to be more variable, because the changes will have different impacts in different schools and in different subjects.

“It is not possible to predict at this stage how the national picture will look – these changes do not pull results universally in one direction or another, but together they are likely to affect the national picture to some extent.

“Our priority this summer, as in previous years, is to hold standards steady so that in general, students in 2014 are not advantaged or disadvantaged because of the changes to the qualifications.

“The approach we follow allows exam boards to take account of changes in the cohort and reflect that in results.”

Anyone who needs help or advice is urged to call 03003 033344 or email info@ofqual.gov.uk.

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