England’s GCSE pupils will be benchmarked against their Chinese counterparts from 2017, in a response from exam regulators to ministers’ calls to toughen up a marking system they say has been discredited by years of grade inflation.
At the urging of the education secretary, Michael Gove, Ofqual has unveiled a plan to link GCSE grades to levels achieved by pupils in China, Singapore and other countries deemed to be high-performing.
Glenys Stacey, Ofqual chief regulator, conceded that the watchdog was responding to a written request from Gove that exams should be more demanding because international tables suggest the UK has fallen behind even as results appear to have improved.
But the idea of an international educational currency prompted concern from teaching unions, who said some countries excluded certain types of children to boost their scores in international tests.
Light years away from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s lost decades with the oft-criticized WKCE.