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Mock results are not a good prediction of final exam grades

August 12, 2020

The government has announced last minute plans to let students use their mock exam result as a grade this year following the cancellation of exams. Although, I have just heard Nick Gibb say mocks could be used for an appeal. so maybe the proposal is not what we thought. Just in case I’ll explain now why it would be insane to allow mocks to count for the following reasons.

  1. There is no consistent system of doing and recording mock exam results with schools doing drastically different things. Schools would definitely have done them differently if this had been on the cards.
  2. Mock exams don’t have boundaries. Schools just make up the boundaries.
  3. Some schools deliberately play down mock results; some even play them up. It’s completely unfair for such arbitrary decision to have any effect on students.
  4. Some students with private tutors “accidentally” see the paper the before sitting the mock exam. Schools then have to sort out how a child surprisingly got almost everything right sometimes on topics that have they’ve never studied.
  5. This new system creates a precedent. Schools will want to have dodgy over-inflated mock results on the system in future.
  6. Schools do mocks at completely different times of the year so they are not comparable between schools.
  7. Nobody wanted this. I’d bet Ofqual don’t want this.
  8. Some subjects, like A level English literature and language, have very long exams which might not be practical to do rigorously as mocks. (And let’s not even mention art A-level)
  9. Schools have already done teacher assessed grades while these are unlikely to be reliable, there is no reason they should less accurate than mock exams.
  10. Making last minute decisions like this makes the job harder for everyone.

Update: It does appear to be the case that mocks will only be used for appeals. Looks like last night’s announcement was incorrect, thank goodness.

4 comments

  1. ‘Schools have already done teacher assessed grades while these are unlikely to be reliable, there is no reason they should less accurate than mock exams.’

    So no chance of teachers bumping all their students’ grades up to make themselves (and/or their schools) look good. Of course not.


    • Very high chance actually. But no reason to think that mocks will be less distorted.


  2. […] in British schools « Mock results are not a good prediction of final exam grades Grade inflation is not the way to resolve an exam kerfuffle […]


  3. […] I wrote about an exam announcement last week it was out of date before I’d finished typing. This post too may now be out of date […]



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