ALL London branch
Last update: 29/09/2013
Summary of situation regarding “severe grading” in GCSE ML
These documents and many others referred to below relating
to “severe grading” are at the ALL London website: www.all-london.org.uk/severe_grading.htm
ASCL, ALL (Association for Language Learning) and ISMLA
(Independent Schools Modern Language Association) have worked closely together
on these matters which affect state and independent sectors.
The outline proposal from ASCL, ALL and ISMLA is
that grading in GCSE ML should be brought broadly into line with traditional
academic subjects such as Mathematics, Science, History and Geography
The outline proposal from ASCL, ALL and ISMLA is that grading in GCSE ML should be brought broadly into line with traditional academic subjects such as Mathematics, Science, History and Geography
Recommendation in Dearing Review (Mar ’07) to investigate and
establish facts at GCSE
Dr Robert Coe (
· Guardian article (12 Mar 2007) David Willetts, Conservative education spokesman, said: "If there is evidence modern languages is tougher than other GCSEs, then that is something that has to be corrected. They should be the same level of challenge as traditional academic GCSEs."
Alan Johnson asks (Jun ’07) the QCA to conduct a review and is
awaiting their advice on whether or not to change grade boundaries.
QCA report 'Grade standards in GCSE modern foreign languages'
published Feb ’08 accepts the reality of “severe grading” – see
To test its practical application we asked AQA, Edexcel and OCR to
calculate what changes there would be to their 2007 GCSE French results if the
grades were based only on the relationship between candidates’ key stage 3
test scores and their results in GCSE mathematics. The analyses indicated that
the changes would be marked at the higher grades. About half the candidates
presently awarded a grade B would gain a grade A as the threshold mark or
performance standard for a grade A would have to move down by about half a grade
width. There would be a similar effect at grade C.
Ofqual hold their first Inter-subject comparability seminar (Oct
’08) with representatives from a range of organisations.
Presentations from ML, STEM and English subject representatives.
Issue of “severe grading” formally recognised, but different views
about “next steps”.
Ofqual Corporate Plan (Sept '13)
Comparability between subjects
There are differing opinions and known concerns about whether some
subjects are harder or easier than others at both A level and GCSE. We will
consider with experts the available data, information and evidence on
comparability between subjects. We will determine whether any changes should be
made to the qualifications themselves and if so, when, given other changes to
In 2013−14 we will:
- evaluate the A*/A relationship and also grading concerns in modern
foreign languages and determine any action to be taken.
Value-added information (DfE and Ofsted)
Information is now available from the DfE Performance Tables website and the Ofsted/DfE RAISEonline website which shows the performance of all pupils in different subjects in terms of their prior attainment at KS2.
The English Baccalaureate Languages measure combines many
The individual line below for French is around half a grade lower (similarly for German and Spanish)