It really is a numbers game ...

At the moment there is a grade review taking place, a national quango in charge of exams does not trust the number of Distinctive grades many centres are getting. On the surface, you would say fair enough, grade inflation is quite an issue and to have a national qualification that has high results 

Having reviewed some centres already, I see a personal trend emerging.

Centres will, as encouraged by the ofsted process, put the right student on the right programme. So weaker students, are put on the 2 A level Diploma, stronger students on the 3 A level extended diploma.

Now with more able students, you already have a higher ability level due to the process of natural selection.

With this in mind, a centre may have a 100 registrations (lets take this number as a fictional figure, but many are not far off). Where the majority are on the two A level route, and some (less than 18 often) are on the 3 A level route.

Of those on the 3 A level route, as they have been suitably counseled onto an appropriate programme, as the requirement is for progression and meeting the ability level of students. They will not only count as a separate programme registration (in spite of the fact they are on the same 'overall' programme) as all their other 100 peers. They are likely to get better results, getting more merits and distinctions for their population.

So, anything over 30% is being flagged, one centre had 12 out of their 17 from their 100 in this position. 17% is reasonable, but 66% caused an alert to notify their awarding body into putting them through a grade review, because of the anxieties of the quango.

I am not under any illusions that occasionally dodgy practices exist, but when you look at the data outside of the programme in question (as centres see the whole range of programmes as one, not just the small cohort that you have been instructed to review and willingly give you everything).

You can see that in the cases I have experienced, there is a clear reaction to a process that another quango (the nice inspectors) has encouraged over the years.

So, poor sods, they are dammed either way. Dammed for not putting their students on the right programme, dammed if they do and they get good results.

Don't you love education.


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