Teachers download GCSE results to give students their grades sooner
THOUSANDS of students will discover if months of hard work has paid off as they rip open their GCSE results today – two days earlier than usual.
For the first time ever, schools have been able to download the results from the exam board websites, enabling them to hand out grades ahead of the official results day on Thursday.
Jenny Leeke, of Orwell High School, in Maidstone Road, Felixstowe, explained: “It gives the students a bit longer to sort out what they want to do next year.
“Many students will already have had places offered to them, but this will allow them to confirm those offers before the bank holiday weekend.”
The 14-19 co-ordinator explained that the results are only provisional, but added: “It shouldn’t make any real difference to the students as the paper results issued on Thursday are provisional as well.”
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A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said downloading the results had not created any extra work for staff.
Last year, 48.7% of students from across Suffolk gained five A* to C grades, a fraction below the national average of 49.7% and a rise on the 46.6% recorded the previous year.
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The results for neighbouring Essex were slightly better with 50.2% of students gaining top grades.
This year, around 7,500 students sat GCSE exams in the county and their results are expected to beat their predecessors, reigniting the debate that exams are getting easier.
Refuting these claims, Graham White, secretary of the Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “They are definitely not getting any easier. It is just that teachers are getting better at training students for exams.
“Teachers are looking at the exam board syllabuses and going on courses to learn ways to improve results for students.
“They are teaching them to answer questions in the way the examiner wants, but they are necessarily getting a better education.”
He believes schools are over-training pupils for exams.
“I have no objection to testing students because they need to gain qualifications and certificates for employment, but I do think we over-test students.
“There is too much pressure on them to get good results.”
Parents, keen to see their children do well, are discouraging them from taking on Saturday jobs because it is felt it will interfere with revision and homework.
However, Mr White, a teacher at Great Cornard Upper School, in Head Lane, Great Cornard, Sudbury, believes they are missing out on vital skills as a result.
“Their employability has lapsed because they don’t get out into their industry and get experience of life,” he said. “There is nothing wrong with experiencing work from an early age.”