Pupils in England will be allowed to use “mock exam results” if they are unhappy with the grades they are issued this year, according to reports.
Several newspapers reported tonight that ministers have agreed to allow pupils to keep grades given for mock exams – if they are higher than the standardised grades they receive on results day.
The Guardian reported that the substitute could be made as long as mocks were held under exam conditions and could be “validated” by the school.
BBC Newsnight has also reported that under the proposed system, pupils will be able to choose the highest out of their centre-assessment grades, their mocks and exams due to be held in the autumn.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL school leaders’ union, said the “idea of introducing at the eleventh hour a system in which mock exam results trump calculated grades beggars belief”.
“The government doesn’t appear to understand how mock exams work. They aren’t a set of exams which all conform to the same standards. The clue is in the name ‘mock’. And some students will not have taken them by the time that schools were closed in March. So, this immediately creates the potential for massive inconsistency.
“Schools and colleges have spent months diligently following detailed guidance to produce centre-assessed grades only to find they might as well not have bothered.
“There is certainly concern about the standardisation process applied by the exam boards, but there are also good reasons for having this system in place because it ensures that this year’s grades are roughly in line with those of previous years, and this is important in terms of fairness to students over time. If the government wanted to change the system it should have spent at least a few days discussing the options rather than rushing out a panicked and chaotic response.”
The Department for Education was approached for comment.
More to follow.