Teachers lashed out at exams regulator Ofqual today following its accusations that the current marking system risked pupils being overgraded.
Ofqual chief regulator Glenys Stacey launched into a tirade against secondary school teachers in a report published today, accusing them of "significantly" over-marking pupils' GCSE English exams this summer in order to boost results.
The new English GCSEs, which were awarded for the first time this year, were split up into modules.
Pupils first sat written exam papers followed by a "controlled assessment" - coursework completed under strict classroom supervision.
It was down to schools to decide when pupils submitted their controlled assessment work and sat the exams.
But Ofqual's report found that many schools used the marks pupils received in their first exams to work out what score a pupil would need in their controlled assessment and marked it accordingly.
"We have been shocked by what we have found. Children have been let down. That won't do," Ms Stacey said.
Intense pressure on schools to reach certain targets, poorly designed exams and too much emphasis on work marked by teachers were cited as a cause for the over-marking.
Schools are judged on the number of pupils who score at least five C grades at GCSE, including English and maths, which determines their standing in league tables.
If less than two-fifths of pupils achieve this target then schools are seen as failing.
Ms Stacey said that it was hard for teachers to maintain their integrity when they believed that others were abusing the system.
But the Association of School and College Leaders deputy general secretary Malcolm Trobe said blaming teachers was "outrageous" and he questioned the impartiality of Ofqual conducting an investigation "into its own conduct."
The union has estimated that hundreds of schools saw a large fall in the numbers of pupils scoring a C in GCSE English this year.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower added: "Ofqual seem to be shifting the blame while at the same time exposing the nonsense of floor targets.
"They continue to refuse to acknowledge the mistakes they have clearly made. It is high time Ofqual took some responsibility for a situation of their own making."
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