HMC comment on Ofqual report on French and German GCSEs

In response to the publication by Ofqual of a report detailing its decision to make adjustments to the grading of French and German GCSEs, Mike Buchanan, Executive Director of HMC, said:

“HMC welcomes the decision to make future adjustments to the grading of GCSEs in French and German at Grade 4 and above. Such a recognition of the long-held perception of the relative difficulty of these exams will go some way to enabling schools to encourage more young people to study these languages in the future.

“We are grateful that Ofqual has taken time to look carefully at this issue using a wide-ranging array of criteria which encompass more than the tricky issue of statistical comparison of difficulty. In an open market for qualifications, there will always be challenges of grading comparability between subjects and boards with a continual need for monitoring and corrective action.

“Ofqual is correct to identify that many students ‘are more likely to choose to study a subject based on perceived enjoyment or utility’ than perceived difficulty. In the case of modern languages, perceived enjoyment is linked to content and methods of assessment. Overcoming negative perceptions in both areas remains a challenge for many teachers of these languages.”