GCSE results: Were exams traditionally DOWNgraded for non-private/grammar school pupils?

Exams: they didn’t happen this year or in 2020, and under teacher assessments, grades shot up. And after last year’s results, assessments by independent/grammar school teachers shot up further than those by teachers in state schools. Are millions of pupils, past and present, the victims of a national downgrading scam?

This Site received a very interesting – and worrying – comment on this year’s A-level results which I want to share with you.

It said:

“Surely, the BIG story is that this year probably reveals that lots more pupils should have done well in previous years, as well as in this year, but the exam system deliberately DOWNGRADED pupils so that numbers and quotas for college places etc would not be exceeded.

“In reality, before now, many pupils would have done well enough for a University place but, given a lack of enough places, the exam results were “doctored by algorithm” so that, by some mysterious process, the number of suitable pupils was almost exactly the number of college places available!

“The remnant 11-plus system in Kent or Glos works in the same way, producing enough pupils to fill the Grammar school places available, but then “failing” many others who, in other years, would have “passed” with exactly the same exam results.

“But this year, the teachers just made honest assessments of pupil progress and achievements and did not consider things like deliberately downgrading some results so that college places would not be under pressure.

“The big losers are , surely, the thousands of pupils in previous years who did just as well as this year’s, but were then downgraded to mean that they no longer hoped to go on to University.

“Public school kids, like Clarkson, didn’t have to worry about all this as they were set up for life anyway.

“Once again, it would have been the working-class pupils, who flogged their guts out to do well, expected some good results, but were then dismayed to find that ,somehow, they hadn’t done well enough.

“And, in the way this system always works, the victims end up blaming themselves and wish they could have worked harder or were, “more intelligent” etc.”

Looking at this year’s GCSE results in comparison with last year’s, that comment seems very close to the mark – although This Writer doesn’t think it’s about denying college places to people from state schools.

It’s about lying that state school pupils don’t deserve college places and independent/grammar school pupils do.

Look at the way top grades – over all candidates – have shot up by almost half since teacher evaluation was used instead of examinations – from 22 per cent of the total in 2019 to 30 per cent in 2021.

To me, that doesn’t indicate a sudden improvement in pupil performance and it certainly doesn’t indicate that exam conditions have a bad effect on grades.

It tells me that pupils at examinations have been traditionally and habitually marked down, if they were from state schools.

Further evidence is in the way teachers at independent and grammar schools, seeing last year’s results, have marked their pupils up in order to maintain their lead.

What, you think the quality of their teaching or the abilities of their pupils have suddenly shot up by three percent since last year (for grammars) and 14 per cent since 2019 (for independents)?

That isn’t realistic.

And, coupled with the rise in A-level grades over the same period of time and for the same reason, it gives me reason to suggest that state school pupils who took exams in 2019 and at any year before need to get angry.

We should be demanding to know why our results were so low in comparison to the grammars and the independents.

What were the criteria used in marking our papers?

Was there inbuilt bias against state schools? If so, who demanded it?

Any such bias will certainly have -arbitrarily – blighted our careers ever since, and that is utterly unacceptable.

Realistically, we won’t get honest answers from a system that is biased against us. We’ll be fobbed off with lies.

So how about an experiment?

Let’s demand a new system in which exam papers are anonymised – pupils are given numbers to put on their papers, and then the papers are mixed up centrally before being sent to examiners who have not been told any details of their origin.

Then they would have to mark honestly, and then we might learn what has really been going on in the UK’s education system.

As one of millions who are likely to have been penalised on the basis of the school I attended, I’m up for it.

How about you?

Source: GCSE results: pupils achieve record numbers of top grades in England

2 thoughts on “GCSE results: Were exams traditionally DOWNgraded for non-private/grammar school pupils?

  1. William-Glyn THOMAS

    I accept there was very little option other than a teacher assessment system. Some pupils will not achieve the classification they deserve or the opposite there will be those who will get a higher classification than they deserve. If there is a clash of personality between the pupil and teacher or there are the pupils who would be seen as “teacher’s pet”. My hope is that teachers would recognise this obstacle and avoid the temptation of falling for it. I think most teachers will be professional.

  2. Mike Curtis

    I am continually amazed by how many people seem surprised at the extent whereby the entire system, education in this instance, is rigged to keep power and money moving from poor to rich. The interesting point is that where in the past there has been some attempt at subtlety and nods towards social mobility, it is now completely blatant and arrogant; yet the majority still seem inclined to tug the forelock and accept their fate. Perhaps this is what Gramsci meant by the “time of monsters”. It remains to be seen what form the new world will take, or whether it can arrive in time to save the planet and most of us on it.

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