If any members of the education select committee were wondering if they would have enough questions for their witnesses today, last night’s scoop from the Times Educational Supplement might give them a few pointers.
Leaked letters seen by the newspaper show exams regulator Ofqual pressured the Edexcel exam board to raise the grade boundaries on its English GCSE just two weeks before the summer results were published. A letter from Ofqual’s director of standards Dennis Opposs to Edexcel on 7 August 2012 says:
‘This may require you to move grade boundary marks further than might normally be required.’
Though Edexcel disagreed, saying its proposed grades were ‘fair’, Opposs pushed the board again, arguing it was obliged to ensure its results were consistent with other boards.
Chief regulator Glenys Stacey and her Ofqual colleagues will face the select committee this morning, which is also taking evidence from union leaders and head teachers. There will be calls for Stacey to justify staying in her job, but there will also be renewed calls from Labour for an independent inquiry into the grades. For the long term, it is further proof for Michael Gove that the GCSE system needs an overhaul.