Over the month it has become clear that a grave injustice has been done to a number of GCSE students. These exams are marked by a number of different examining boards and it would seem that advice issued by OFQUAL has led to harsher marking than those marked in January and a number of students not achieving their predicted grades.

MPs are outraged although the role of Stephen Twigg in articulating this is more doubtful. The Guardian reports the affair in an article called, GCSE row: Michael Gove set to face grilling by MPs over ‘grade deflation’ and make the point that,

MPs have been bombarded with complaints from furious teachers and parents after tens of thousands of students, who had been expecting C grades – the crucial level for entry on to many A-level and other further education courses – were unexpectedly given D grades.

It is clear that Gove is one of the flag bearers for the argument that GCSEs are getting too easy, he makes a bunch of speeches on “Grade Inflation”, and low and behold, the exams become harder, but like Hunt, once he knew he had to be impartial he was. I think Left Futures has it about right,

…it cannot be right for the regulator, OFQUAL, with a nod and a wink from Gove, to tighten standards of assessment between January and June so that the number of pupils getting A*-C grades in English falls by 1.5%,

Where’s Twigg been? It’s been his junior spokesman Michael Dugher who has led the call for a  Select Committee enquiry? While the core issue of curriculum development and measurement is exceptionally complicated, it’s not the opposition’s job to solve the problem.

We need to know if Gove issued inappropriate instructions. Gove needs to explain why he wouldn’t order the exams to be remarked. We need to ensure that our children are given the best start possible.


Later in the year Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham Council launched a Judicial Review , which came to nothing. Scandalous really, because in Wales, the Welsh Education Minister ordered the exams to be remarked.

This was originally considered as an article over the summer of 2012, when Michael Gove was alleged to have interfered with the GCSE exam markings, I never finished it and decided to finish and publish while tidying up the blog in November 2013. Stephen Twigg, the then Labour shadow spokesman on Education has been dropped from Labour’s front bench by now. (I don’t think I bent the article with hindsight, but if I can find the time, I do have an article on education coming up, …. at least I have something to say again.)

The GCSE Farce
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