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The cost of exams

All the science GCSEs are over and, if you took them, I hope they went well for you. This was the first year of the new GCSEs and I am very interested to see what the new spread of grades will be and also what they grade boundaries are.

(In case you don't know, all the exams are marked and then grade boundaries are set so that a certain percentage of pupils get a grade 9, a certain percentage get a grade 8 etc. This means that difficult exams have low grade boundaries and easy exams have high ones)

I suspect that, whatever the results will be, the following things will not be taken into account in the final analysis.

  • Teachers who start teaching their GCSEs in year 9 had to predict the specification for a year (the year 2015-2016) because the specifications hadn't been written yet.

  • Most specifications were only approved around June 2016 for teaching in September 2016. I expect this meant that a lot of teachers spent their summers writing schemes of work.

  • There were no past papers.

  • There is no coursework. Some students really need that extra grade bump from coursework.

  • The amount of help students get outside the classroom is never taken into account. if a student gets a grade 9 through several hours of tutoring and time spent getting the homework right, then no one will know. The opportunity cost of that 9 is never calculated.

The time and money spent on these new courses is never known and neither are the opportunities lost to achieve the target grades.