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Schools warned against playing the system

24/12/2012 Kelly
Schools have been warned against the practice of entering pupils for the same GCSEs with multiple exam boards in order to achieve higher grades and improve their league table rankings.

According to Tim Oates, director of research at OCR-owner Cambridge Assessment, the "frightening" practice has come about because of the modular nature of the system, with children taking initial modules with more than one board, then continuing on the one with which they score the highest mark.

According to the TES, the senior exam board official, who has been leading a government curriculum review, expressed his concerns based on pupils sitting maths exams. The practice was first identified by the news supplement last month after it revealed hundreds of schools had entered pupils simultaneously for GCSE and IGCSE English exams.

Mr Oates told the publication: "Cambridge Assessment has deep misgivings about this. There has to be a question mark over the cost of this practice and whether it is simply being driven by accountability arrangements - the C/D borderline.

"We are picking up signs from the system that modular GCSE has encouraged schools to double-enter students in key subjects in early modules and then certificate with the board in which the student is most likely to gain the highest grade."

The exam system is currently being overhauled and Education Secretary Michael Gove intends to replace GCSEs with the English Baccalaureate, which emphasises traditional academic subjects such as English, maths and science.

It is also understood that the government's proposals would see qualifications for a subject assessed by a single exam board, with Mr Gove also keen to move away from the modular nature of the current GCSE exams process, which he says also encourages resits.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801512572-ADNFCR
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