Cheating Row as Teachers Are 'Coached by Examiners'
Byline: John Stevens
EDUCATION Secretary Michael Gove last night ordered an inquiry into claims that examiners have been advising teachers on how to boost GCSE and A-level results.
Chief examiners were filmed giving teachers advice on the words pupils should use to get top marks.
Mr Gove said that the footage 'confirms that the current system is discredited' and ordered the exam regulator Ofqual to investigate.
The disclosures will add to the row over claims of grade inflation over the past decade and fears over the 'dumbing down' of standards.
The undercover investigation found that teachers are paying up to [pounds sterling]230 a day to attend seminars with examiners where the advice appeared to go beyond what is allowed.
At one such meeting, one of the chief examiners for GCSE history from exam board WJEC was filmed by the Daily Telegraph telling teachers which questions should be expected in the next round of exams.
Paul Evans told teachers at the course in London last month that the compulsory question in the first part of the exam 'goes through a cycle'.
'This coming summer, and there's a slide on this later on, it's going to be the middle bit: "Life in Germany 1933-39" or for America, it will be "Rise and Fall of the American Economy"... So if you know what the compulsory section is you know you've got to teach that,' he was filmed saying.
When questioned by a teacher on whether this meant they did not have to teach the whole syllabus, he replied: 'We're cheating. We're telling you the cycle (of the compulsory question).
Probably the regulator will tell us off.' In November, at the AQA GCSE English seminar in Brighton, teachers were reportedly told that students could study only three out of 15 poems even though the Qualification and Curriculum Authority states it should be all 15.
In England there are three main exam boards offering GCSEs and A-levels - OCR, AQA and Edexcel - although the Welsh exam board, WJEC, has become more popular.
Critics last night said that the findings were proof that exam boards were lowering standards as they compete with one another to win business from schools. They also warned that it showed examiners were encouraging 'teaching to the test'.
Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education said: 'These findings are shocking, but not surprising, the whole system is rotten to the core. …