GCSE scoring: #fail
The school examination system is fundamentally broken: the way in which marks map to grades is wrong.
This year, the percentage of GCSE passes increased for the 23rd year running. While the percentage of A*–C grades increased by two percentage points from last year—to 69.1%. Meanwhile, the A-level pass rate increased for the 28th successive year. (They last decreased on the same date as compact discs were released in Germany!) And 29.9% of those sitting the exam achieved an A* in Mathematics (Further).
In my view, the percentage of entrants in a subject achieving each grade should stay static year-on-year. So, for example, 16% of Maths entrants should be awarded an A grade. Period.
Only through evolution are we becoming more intelligent as a species. And the rate at which evolution, er, evolves is sufficiently small for it not to affect exam results across a generation or so. As such, a gradual increase in people’s success in exams merely serves to penalise the old, at the same time making it more and more difficult for prospective employers, universities and the like to differentiate between pupils.
If a paper is easier than last year’s then by maintaining proportions as proposed above, the mark necessary to achieve a certain grade is pushed higher. I’d be happy for the percentages to change from one subject to the next—one may choose for a higher proportion of English exams to score well. But changing them year-on-year serves no purpose whatsoever.
Seems simple to me. So why so hard for the politicians?