Languages: Qualifications

Department for Education written question – answered on 18th June 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Coussins Baroness Coussins Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the level of difficulty in examinations and severe grading on the take-up of modern languages at GCSE and A-level.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Ofqual is the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. Ofqual is conducting a comprehensive review of grading standards in GCSE French, German and Spanish to see if there is a compelling case for an adjustment to grading standards in these subjects. Ofqual’s review will consider statistical evidence, contextual data including trends in the numbers taking these subjects, and the quality of students’ work through looking at how GCSE grades relate to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Ofqual is also gathering the views of subject experts and other stakeholders. Ofqual is due to report on this work in the autumn.

Ofqual has examined this issue in relation to grading standards in A level French, German and Spanish (and A level biology, chemistry and physics). Ofqual considered a significant body of evidence – published in 2018 in the form of 2 technical reports – and determined that there was not a compelling case to adjust grading standards in these qualifications. This can be found here and as attached:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inter-subject-comparability.

HL15995_report (PDF Document, 2.43 MB)

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