exam results


Last week saw GCSE/BTEC results published to join the A-Level results. Today’s news summary rounds up links to in-depth analysis from around the sector. 

A-Levels Recap 

The CAGs and TAGs process through 2020 and 2021 saw huge grade inflation at both A-Level and GCSEs. Ofqual set a goal this year of reducing those gains by half, then returning to 2019 levels by next year. Largely they seem to have been successful in this aim. 

Sam Freedman wrote a sensible article on the grade inflation that took place, the return to exams and why, love them or hate them, they are the fairest system we have – A level 2022 results: Exams may be an imperfect system – but it’s the fairest one we have (tes.com) 

Professor Lindsey Macmillan analysed the overall change in grades this year and dug into the differences between different centre types. An interesting read, particularly around the differences in how much different institution types have or have not reduced their previous gains –  Turbulence on the glide path: A-level results 2022 | UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO) 

FFT analysed the differences in each subject in some depth – A-Level results 2022: The main trends in grades and entries – FFT Education Datalab 

I delved deeper into the trends at a regional level and found some quite unusual patterns. Full read here: A-Level Results 2022 – Regional Analysis | LinkedIn

GCSEs Follow Suit 

Last Thursday saw the publication of GCSE results, as with A-Levels there were drops in grades across the board as Ofqual sought to begin the process of returning grade distributions to where they were in 2019. This process has started, but it was notable that the number of top grades did not fall as much as expected. 

Pearson warned that 7000 students would not receive their BTEC grades on results day. 

Ofqual shared a series of infographics showing headlines from the data they have produced so far. 

The EPI have the best analysis of regional variances so far. We’ll need more detailed data from Ofqual to be able to investigate this further. 

FFT have the most detailed analysis, covering subject profiles, school types and regional analysis. 

Despite National Reference Tests (NRTs) showing that standards had fallen in Maths, no further change was applied to the results. 

The Annual ‘Scrap exams’ Debate 

It wouldn’t be exam results season without a debate about the suitability of exams as a means of measuring attainment, and a debate about whether modern qualifications meet the needs of employers (and whether that should even be their goal!). 

This year this was kicked off by the Tony Blaire Institute (TBI) publishing a report arguing for whole scale change in the assessment system with an increased focus on teaching skills and new qualifications based on regular assessment. 

Meanwhile, Sam Freedman published a report arguing against reform of the exam system, suggesting a model of incremental improvement on assessment. 

Rob Coe supported Sam Freedman’s assertion that exams are the best system we have at the moment, and that now is not the time to change such systems with an article in the New Statesman

Daisy Christodoulou also took apart the Tony Blair Institute report piece by piece

You May Have Missed 

In case you missed them, here are a few recent Data Trends posts that could be a useful read as we head into the new school year: 

How to Analyse School & MAT Exam Results - My top 7 tips on putting together an effective set of reports on your exam results. 

Monitoring Attendance in the New Academic Year - A summary of the new attendance guidance that comes into effect on 1st September. 

Data Trends in Safeguarding The data implications of KCSIE 2022 which also comes into full effect this new school year.