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Letter: Reviewing ‘Each School’s Grades Very Quickly’ Is Easy If We Had Moderators And Coursework

Published on: 18 Aug, 2020
Updated on: 18 Aug, 2020

From Sue Hackman:

Campaign Manager for the Guildford Labour Party and former Chief Adviser on School Standards at the DofE, and senior moderator on England’s largest A-level (AEB 660), based in Guildford.

In response to: XX Notes: How Can These Exam Results Truly Reflect Pupils’ Abilities?

When Lord Bew reviewed the assessment regime in 2011, he wisely recommended exams be used to test those skills required on demand and on paper, and that coursework assessment be used for those skills which needed time to complete or were not conducive to paper testing.

The Tories did away with almost all coursework, even for practical subjects, and replaced it with timed written exams which they considered free from teacher interference.

We had a simple and satisfactory system under successive Labour governments for checking that teachers were marking at the right level, by having area moderators who trained teachers to mark coursework to the agreed standard then checked the grades of each school, each year.

If we had had moderators this year, and greater respect for coursework, it would have been an easy matter to review each school’s grades very quickly, deal with individual anomalies, and assure even politicians that a national standard was being applied.

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Responses to Letter: Reviewing ‘Each School’s Grades Very Quickly’ Is Easy If We Had Moderators And Coursework

  1. Brian Creese, Guildford Labour Party Reply

    August 19, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Michael Gove believed that exams were the only legitimate way of deciding on qualifications and destroyed almost all coursework in his ‘bonfire’ of qualifications in the early years of the decade.

    He created a system where only exams meant anything. In a year when exams were not able to be conducted, he left a system with no flexibility and which could not reliably provide robust qualifications.

    Gavin Williamson may be hapless and inadequate, but Gove is the person to blame for this situation.

    Coursework, sensibly moderated and supervised, should return to GCSE and A level qualifications as soon as practicable, which will enhance the qualifications and help to de-stress the exam period for our young people.

    Brian Creese is the chair of the Guildford Labour Party

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