In passing, commentators did point out the obvious fact that it is the exam boards' job to moderate teachers' marking effectively and that over-generous marking should not affect grade outcomes.
|Picture: Microsoft Office|
Now, my department and I met on regular occasions after school to moderate our own speaking assessments and some of you may have had the same feelings as us: because we were aware that that the exam board (AQA in this case) gave some leeway in terms of acceptable marks, when we were torn between two marks we would tend to award the higher one. Our reasoning was that we had to be fair to the candidate and we had allow the board to do their job of moderation if it were needed. We also had in the back of our mind that we wanted the best grades for the department. As it happened, our marks were never moderated down or up and we were quite thorough and fair in how we assessed candidates.
Teachers usually, and correctly, err on the generous side and if that generosity pushes a candidate from an expected D to a C, then so be it.
Overall, Ofqual were right to highlight the consequences of high stakes accountability, modular entries and controlled assessment. But controlled assessment was poorly conceived in the first place, unreliable and no great improvement on coursework. That was not the fault of teachers or awarding bodies.
In an ideal world we would let teachers do continual assessment, but if accountability measures are to mean anything, then we will have to, reluctantly, rely on more "objective" terminal examinations. No assessment system is perfect.
I read elsewhere that foreign educationalists marvel at the complexity and rigour of our school monitoring and tracking systems. They must also look disbelievingly at our bureacratic, expensive and unnecessary 16+ examination system.