We explore the potential of innovative classroom assessment methods, as well as the impact of major exam reforms

A-Level results day 2017: A look at changing grade distributions

We looked at some of the main A-Level results trends this morning, and separately we have looked at how results changed in subjects that have been reformed (in brief: attainment fell slightly). But there are a couple of other interesting trends in grade distributions to be drawn out. Some specific subjects are seeing quite large [...]

By | August 17th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

A-Level results day 2017: The impact of reform in England and Wales

A massive 59% of A-Level exams sat in England this year were in reformed subjects which follow the new, linear model of sitting one set of exams at the end of the two-year course. Overall, and perhaps surprisingly, A-Level entries by 18-year-olds in reformed subjects increased by 2.3% in England. This compares to 0.7% in [...]

By | August 17th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

A-Level results day 2017: Is it the end of the road for AS-Levels?

Last year, we reported on entries and grades in the first set of AS-Levels to be reformed. Compared to 2015, entries fell in all subjects, ranging from 11% (business studies) to 33% (art and design). This year, more subjects have been reformed and decoupled from A-Levels. Data published by Ofqual earlier in the summer showed [...]

By | August 17th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

A-Level results day 2017: The key trends in three charts

Overall, A-Level pass rates have edged up slightly A*-A passes were up slightly (26.3% of all awards v 25.8% last year), though the overall A*-E pass rate was down slightly (97.9% v 98.1%). The proportion of A*s awarded was also up - to 8.3% of all awards, versus 8.1% last year. However, in England the [...]

By | August 17th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|

What might EBacc average points scores look like?

Although previous governments used the machinery of performance tables and school accountability to drive improvements in the education system, the Coalition government of 2010 was the first to use it to influence the qualifications that pupils entered at age 16. But for all the rhetoric about the damaging effects on curriculum offer of the English [...]

Why does Vietnam do so well in PISA? An example of why naive interpretation of international rankings is such a bad idea

A version of this post was first published in Research Intelligence, the British Educational Research Association’s termly magazine. When the PISA 2015 results were released in December last year, Vietnam was one of the countries that stood out as doing remarkably well. (PISA is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s triennial assessment of 15-year-olds [...]

By | July 19th, 2017|Exams and assessment, International studies|

Are more pupils really taking arts subjects?

Schools Week last week published a handy summary of Ofqual’s release of summer 2017 examination entry statistics. It notes that entries in EBacc subjects have risen whilst entries in other subjects have fallen. This raises the question of whether the EBacc is crowding other subjects out of the curriculum. In defence of the EBacc, Schools [...]

By | June 23rd, 2017|Exams and assessment, School accountability|

How many language teachers would we need to reach the Conservatives’ 75% EBacc target?

The Conservatives’ manifesto has revised the party’s commitment to require all students to study the English Baccalaureate subjects at Key Stage 4. It now has a more modest proposal that 75% of students should study the EBacc by the end of the next parliament [PDF]. To be considered to have entered the EBacc a child [...]

Young people are taking fewer A-Levels as qualification reforms kick in and per-student spending falls

Post-16 education is in a period of flux, with major qualification reforms and a drop in per-student spending. Reformed A-Levels began to be introduced from September 2015, with a concurrent decoupling of AS-Levels. And, as the IFS have reported [PDF], spending per student in school sixth forms and further education has been falling since 2010/11. [...]

By | May 18th, 2017|Exams and assessment, Post-16 provision|