Head Teachers from across the North East came together to raise concerns over the quality of exam paper marking, moderation and the appeals process, discussing the issues in an open conversation with Ofqual Chair Amanda Spielman.
The volatility of English GCSE results this summer was one of the main problems brought up by the audience and the panel made up of four experienced heads.
One head teacher on the panel told the audience that after making an appeal for 121 English Literature papers marked by AQA, 66 grades were changed. Out of those 19 moved from grade D to C, a further 10 moved from C to B, two from D to B and another two from C to A.
Ms Spielman reassured Head Teachers that Ofqual “requires exam boards to constantly evaluate and tell us when things go wrong, to have proper plans in place so issues don’t reoccur.
“We look at complaints and appeals constantly, and use the feedback from that so we don’t just respond to crisis.
“We have to distinguish between the noise and real concerns.”
SCHOOLS NorthEast Vice Chair Iain Veitch, Head Teacher of Park View School in County Durham, told Schools Week that Ms Spielman had done her best to “allay heads’ fears” and had made some interesting points, but added: “she couldn’t agree or disagree with anything, which was frustrating, but I understand totally why.” You can read the Schools Week article and interview with Mr Veitch here.
The exam board regulator was urged to meet with school leaders in the region after SCHOOLS North East submitted evidence on their behalf to the Education Select Committee inquiry into the role of Ofqual.
Amanda Spielman attended the meeting instead of Chief Regulator Glenys Stacey who was initially pencilled in to meet North East heads but ultimately could not attend due to an “unavoidable change in her calendar”.