ABSTRACT

Assessment often grabs the headlines for politicians keen to big-note themselves and show they are on top of the education portfolio. Take the recent furore over General Certificate in Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations 1 in England in 2012. Grade boundaries were changed and scripts outsourced for external marking which was bungled. The number of grades wrongly awarded soared by 18.7 per cent to 45,630 causing confusion and anger from teachers, Unions and the public and a serious undermining of confidence in the education system. Head teachers, local councils and students mounted a legal challenge over the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation 2 (Ofqual), to regrade GCSE papers. Typifying public management of the crisis in the media was a headline in the Guardian 3 : ‘Tough exams and learning by rote are the keys to success, says Michael Gove.’