"New GCSE tests 'could be compulsory'", reported by the BBC
. This item is revealed with spectacular coincidence to the revelation that if re-elected the Conservatives would introduce resits for pupils who do not achieve L4 in KS2 SATs.
It can be argued, indeed I have supported the position, that irrespective as to the debate around the effectiveness of SATs the aim and purpose of the latter has been wholly hijacked and woefully misrepresented. That is to say, SATs are an exam and not achieving the government baseline renders 11 year old's failures. Neither of the these falsehoods is tenable or hold water. But that is perhaps a thread for another day.
What is being proposed in the GCSE tests is risible and laden with the potential to cause foreseeable untold damage to the pupils that sit them in the final run up to their actual GCSEs. The reason, Ofqual, an unaccountable quango, wants to make sure that they can confidently set the GCSE grade thresholds for summer. To do this they want to force approximately 7500 pupils to sit the new GCSE Reference test. Our learners are already under unrelenting stress:
1. At a direct personal level to achieve to their best and meet expectations
2. At an indirect personal level to meet parental expectations and desires
3. To fulfil the expectations of their subject teachers
4. To contribute to arbitrary government floor targets in English and Maths
5. To meet the newly imposed Progress/Attainment 8 floor target imposed by the outgoing SoS Educ, Michael Gove
And now an unelected, unaccountable body wants a random selection of Y11 pupils to undergo the pressures of a test that has no qualification relevance for them other than to help examination bodies determine and apply GCSE thresholds. It is surely nothing short of a national outrage when a quango can enforce stressed and pressured pupils as GCSE threshold setting fodder. I would go as far as to suggest that it is an infringement of their human rights to be treated as forced labour.
It would serve Ofqual and the government right - irrespective of its political complexion post the general election - if between the pupils and schools the tests were not taken seriously. The impact on threshold setting would be direct and reverse the situation by forcing Ofqual to set thresholds using existing mechanisms.
All of that I didn't even venture into the annually adjusted thresholds debate ...