GCSEs: league tables a ‘broken system’ because of constant tinkering, critics claim

TES, 29/01/15, school league tables have been condemned for being 'nonsense' and a 'broken system' in the wake of results published today that have pushed hundreds of schools below the government's floor target. HMC schools Rugby and Uppingham are referenced

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) claimed that the Department for Education tables offered a “skewed” picture of school performance while the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC), representing elite independent schools, said they had become a “nonsense”.

Some HMC schools like Rugby and Uppingham have seen their results plunge to zero as far as the official tables are concerned because they have used versions of the IGCSE that do not count because they are not regulated by Ofqual, a problem highlighted by TES last year.

State schools have also been hit by changes with the number falling below the government’s “floor standard” of 40 per cent of pupils achieving five A*-C GCSEs including English and maths, more than doubling from 154 to 330.

The DfE has highlighted its decision to only count pupil’s first entry in a GCSE rather than their best result and new limits on how much vocational qualifications count as the main two reasons.

But hundreds of state secondaries have also been hit by a late decision not to count IGCSEs from the AQA and WJEC boards and others have been caught out by a bizarre ruling that mean their English results don’t count because of the order that exams were timetabled – leading to some zero scores.

A move from modular to linear GCSEs, widespread school concerns over the grading of English, and hundreds of secondaries reporting unexpectedly low results in maths may also explain the decline on the key GCSE measure seen in some secondaries.

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