Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

GCSE STANDARDS 'WORRYINGLY UNEVEN', SAYS HMI

  • Comment
This year's GCSE examinations have been marked more rigorously than those in 1992 thanks to the introduction of a m...
This year's GCSE examinations have been marked more rigorously than those in 1992 thanks to the introduction of a mandatory code of practice which has tightened up procedures, an OFSTED report published today revealed.

Nonetheless, HMI identify several areas of continuing weakness in the GCSE which the code has yet to address. HMI also found some serious flaws in the criteria for the assessment of spelling, punctuation and grammar. Some able candidates are being penalised for poor spelling when attempting a more sophisticated vocabulary and some science candidates are being judged on their spelling and grammar based on limited evidence.

In the GCSE many candidates achieve satisfactory standards overall but the levels of attainment that they demonstrate can be worryingly uneven across the whole syllabus. There is a danger that important and more demanding parts of a syllabus will be given insufficient attention in the classroom.

In English, for example, candidates offering strong presentation and organisation of coursework, are let down by an inability to rise to the challenge of a timed, formal examination. In mathematics, standards are improving in statistics and probability but even among candidates who gain the highest grades, questions involving algebra and proof are answered badly. Similar trends were observed in other subjects.

Prof Stewart Sutherland, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector commented: 'The Examining Bodies have done well to introduce the mandatory code so swiftly. It has already made a difference and we look to further improvements in its application.

'Scope exists for the GCSE to help raise expectations and improve national standards. The introduction of the National Curriculum in Key Stage 4 (at 16 years old), and the alignment of the GCSE with it, will provide the opportunity to tackle the weaknesses identified in this report.'

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.