WARNING: Ignore All Reports On GCSE/A Level Exams

Why the title? Well, read the words below and you will see that reading reports on Google is about as useful as reading your illness symptoms on Google. It just drives you insane! So avoid such activity at all cost.

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Two reports in the news today have prompted me to write these words, because I am so appalled, as a professional teacher, at what this present government is doing to the education profession and the students in their care. 

The first is this one. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/alevel-gcse-exam-mistakes-unions-b2104881.html?fbclid=IwAR1fHB7pzMGtAjUec3-HX_Va3rjeYt_1E8N_CeMbzaYTsIV_j8rrCEbe1ic

It details how so many errors were made in preparing for this year’s exams at GCSE and at A2 (A Level), but what it does not go near (very much) is the problems this will cause the present crop of students, three of which, as my latest students, need as much confidence and help to achieve those grades as possible. 

You see, I am now a tutor, offering online tuition. I did offer face to face until one of them unwittingly gave me Covid which had been caught by them, at their school. 

So now we are in this position of delivering online lessons at GCSE and when I look at the content, it makes me want to weep. To then see in these reports, however accurate or not they are, that the exam boards; AQA and Edexcel and the likes, are messing about saying do not revise for one thing and do revise for the other and then swapping them round on exam day is nothing short of scandalous. 

You are being let down on a huge scale by the very people your parents voted into power and it needs to stop now!

The second report seen this morning is even more damning and more frightening for the current crop of students having just finished, last Monday, their final A2 Language exam. They breathed their final sigh to know that the exams are finally over, only to see this. 

https://inews.co.uk/news/education/exam-results-2022-every-school-drop-gcse-a-level-grades-ofqual-head-1692533?fbclid=IwAR3yzu_sNouxsmIyIY1prIK3juE4fVPa5ZvXS-ZG_eVk1cipW5NQHnZTvdc

In this article, the news writers are saying that we should expect a grade drop from last year, which makes this teacher of English respond in two ways. 

The first is political, I am afraid, for I am of one persuasion that sees what the present Tory government is doing and hates them for it. 

You see, if they mean to mess around with the grade boundaries yet again, as they tend to do each year, to keep the numbers getting a Level 3 or a level 4 at GCSE and a C at A Level, lower than normal, then two things come to mind – well a lot more than two but they are unprintable and ethically unsound, as well as physically impossible – one of which is the effect on the student. 

The student at A Level who has been hitting B grades all year in class work will suddenly get a C and think they have screwed up the exam somewhere. They will begin second guessing what they did wrong and that will stay with them for decades! 

Some students and their families spend from £20 a week on tutors – one was two lessons a week this last year with me so you do the Maths – so they are forking out a lot of cash to get their child over the line when Covid, crappy platforms like Google Classroom, really poor teachers hiding behind Covid as an excuse and not teaching the skills and information the student needs and then exam boards are all messing it up for all our  students. 

There is little wonder that the education system in this country is messed up beyond measure and before my left leaning principles come out to play, the same would be true with any Labour or LibDem government if they were in power because they break the one rule that is quintessentially true to us all that if it is not broken, then do not fix the thing!

So, if and when you see these reports on Google and the likes, ignore them. If after each exam, you were able to say that you revised like mad, did your best in the exam, scoring what you think is your predicted grade – itself a fallacy as we are all different in exam stress situations – then you have done your best. At the end of the day, the exam mark and grade will not represent what you did or how well you did, but will show and share just how corrupt and twisted this current system actually is. 

So do not worry about these reports, or about your grades. Because the exam boards mess about with exam boundaries – what is a C and a B and so on – at both GCSE and A Level, you are at the mercy of a bureaucrat rather than a teacher and their  professionalism. 

This is why I think all assessments should be teacher assessed as we, your teachers, know you best. It is about time we began trusting our teachers rather than belittling them just to make it so that exams either become harder, or grades harder to achieve, over teaching our students to shine, which is what they will have done this and every year, regardless of their final grades. 

R Johnson
Premier Tutors: Sheffield