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A-Level results

I was able to have a very close look at our A and As results thanks to the Enhanced Results Analysis section of the e AQA site. This is, by the way, an excellent service which allows you to see how your school compared with others on whole papers and individual questions. One general observation: it is, once again this year, very hard for students to get an A* in MFL. I wonder how many of the small minority who do get A* are native speakers. For two years running I have seen very able linguists not reaching that grade. You could easily argue that, given the small but significant percentage of native speakers, the overall ratio of A* to A grades should be higher than for other subjects. Maybe the overall proportion of A grades should be higher too. Exam boards do not measure numbers of native speakers, partly because defining native speaker competence is not always easy.

Ofqual really need to look into this area.

The papers report, yet again, a fall in the number of entries for A-Level French, German and even Spanish. French was down 4.7% in one year. This is concerning and is partly explained by lower numbers doing GCSE. It may also have something to do with the rising number taking other hard A-Levels like maths and sciences. (It is worth noting that AS entries rose in all modern languages). The government talks a good game on languages, but the money is going to STEM subjects which sends out an even stronger message.

EBacc will help, despite its shortcmings, as will fairer grading at GCSE, better teaching and strong messages from schools and the media about the value of languages.

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