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The release of results is an important time of year for everyone – whether you're a teacher, an Exams Officer, a candidate or a parent. You may have read recent press articles reporting possible concerns about upcoming exam results, as a consequence of 'tougher grade boundaries' and the prioritisation of comparable outcomes.
Ofqual have previously stated their intent to raise standards alongside the introduction of new qualifications. In May 2012 they published a report entitled "GCSEs and A levels in Summer 2012: Our approach to setting and maintaining standards" in which they detail their approach to setting higher standards from summer 2012 and outline how this will effect new GCSEs including English, Maths and Science.
Read the full Ofqual report – GCSEs and A levels in Summer 2012.
There are several sections of the report worth reading, covering both GCSE and A Levels, which will provide a context for results from summer 2012. "The highlights of the report are:
In relation to GCSE science the key points of Ofqual's report include:
"In new GCSEs in science, awarded for the first time in 2012, we will not expect comparable outcomes, because the performance standard required for the grades, particularly the higher grades, will be higher. This is because of our concerns, first reported in 2009, that the demand of the previous qualifications was not sufficient."
"The new syllabuses for the suite of science subjects were designed to be more challenging and to discriminate more effectively between candidates of different ability levels. This was in response to concerns reported by Ofqual in 2009 that the previous syllabuses didn’t adequately test the subject content and weren't sufficiently demanding."
"Our expectation has always been that students will have to perform at a higher standard on the new exams to achieve the same grades as students in previous years, particularly at the higher grades."
In response to this report, OCR and other awarding bodies have reviewed A Level and GCSE results based on the past performance of pupils. OCR has been in dialogue with Ofqual throughout the awarding process to ensure it has followed guidance appropriately and consistently.