Ofqual says harsher approach to 2023 exams

Today Ofqual has written to headmaster across our county, and indeed country. The news is not going to be welcomed by parents and teachers. Ofqual states that results will be marked to pre pandemic standards. Implying that there has been more leeway in marking over the past 3 years. Which means that your school or college’s headline results will be lower than they were in 2022.

Ofqual say that an allowance is being made so that overall results should be similar to those seen nationally in 2019. This means that the grade a student achieves in 2023 should be equivalent to the same grade in 2019. Even if their performance is a little weaker than that needed to secure the grade in 2019. 

The same approach is being taken to vocational and technical qualifications that are similar to GCSEs and A levels. Awarding organisations will also consider the grading approach used in GCSE and A levels. This is so that students are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged irrespective of what qualification type they take.

Technical Qualifications within T Levels will be awarded more generously in the first year of awards. 2023 will be the first year that Technical Qualifications in T Levels are based fully on exams. Previously some included teacher assessed grades too. This means that the profile of results may look different in some subjects. Ofqual say it will be important not to compare them with last year’s results.

You may well be thinking what impact might this have on my child’s ambition to get a university place? Especially as the result of the policy outline above is likely to be students not meeting their predicted grades. And many places are awarded based on achievement of predicted grades. Ofqual say this is a red herring. In 2019 only 20% of UK 18-year-old UCAS applicants taking at least 3 A levels achieved or exceeded their predicted grades. However 88% were accepted on a higher education course.

Headteachers are being told that even if students don’t achieve their predicted grades there are still lots of options open to them.

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