Well teachers, Year 11s up and down the country are getting the results back for the November/December 2023 mock exams they just sat. Some are below expectations, some are expected, but largely, most students I have spoken to have achieved beyond expectations.
You may think this is a positive thing, but it's not! Both the students and their parents are worried and concerned. Rightfully so. Why? Because if they do well in their Summer exams, the Exam Boards will increase the Grade boundaries!
This has been an issue for the last 15 years - whenever the GCSE cohort does exceptionally well in their exams, the boundaries get moved. Every. Single. Time!
Theoretically, it reflects how hard the paper was as exam boards say:
"The experts look at marked papers from the current and previous years, then they decide what the minimum mark for each grade should be. If this year's papers are found to be slightly harder than last year's, then this year's grade boundaries will be slightly lower than last year's."
But, the students won't know if this year's paper is going to be harder or easier, they will just try their best.
Imagine five years of hard work, finally succeeding after all of that hard work, to be told, you did TOO well so you're getting a Grade 7 rather than the Grade 9 you would have gotten if you had done the exam last year.
It's not only heart-breaking but maddening!
So what's the solution? Tell them to do worse? Hope that a large number do badly so that your students do well?
I'm at a loss.
The only thing I can think of is that we try to collectively ask the Exam boards to keep the Grade Boundaries the same every year and to not move the goalposts for the students who have put in blood, sweat and tears, just to have their hard work shredded and ruined.
This blog is more of a venting post and hoping that by discussing it, others will as well. As I am terrified about the summer grade boundaries this year, the students seem to be determined to do so well and I want them to succeed!
Lets hope that there is no disappointment this summer.
Until next time!