Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Teachers 'Give Top GCSE Pupils Too Much Help'; Top of the Class: St Paul's Head Clarissa Farr

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Teachers 'Give Top GCSE Pupils Too Much Help'; Top of the Class: St Paul's Head Clarissa Farr

Article excerpt

Byline: DOMINIC HAYES

GCSE high fliers are being overcoached in the scramble for bettergrades, examiners have warned.

Reports on how students performed in this summer's exams showed schools aregiving pupils too much help with coursework and foreign language tests.

Examiners found that in one exam, pupils were guilty of an "over-reliance onteacher notes", while the entire class from one school gave the same answers inan oral test. Exam board Edexcel said: "Too much guidance is still preventingthe best candidates from producing work commensurate with their considerableability." The warning came as mark schemes for this summer's exams showed that,once again, dozens of candidates gained a C grade despite scoring less than 40per cent. On one maths paper, just 22.5 per cent was enough to get a C, whilein a physics exam, 32 per cent was set as the threshold.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and EmploymentResearch at Buckingham University, said: "To award a C grade on 32 per cent inphysics and 22.5 per cent on a maths paper really is very low and gives amisleading impression.

"It may be saying to the candidates that they are better at this subject thanthey really are." Science exams set by AQA, the largest exam board, enabledstudents to get a C for scoring 32 per cent in physics, 38 per cent inchemistry and 39 per cent in biology. An AQA spokeswoman said the thresholdshad been set according

She said St Paul's was to government codes of practice.

League tables published today by the Evening Standard show how private schoolsin London and the South-East performed in this year's exams.

The table was topped by St Paul's Girls' School in Brook Green, where 99 percent of pupils scored A*s and As in all of their subjects.

Headmistress Clarissa Farr said it was the school's best result for at leasteight years. Ms Farr defended the new science syllabus from accusations that ithas been dumbed down. …

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