OFQUAL has confirmed that GCSE computer science pupils will receive no marks for their GCSE coursework this year.
The move follows revelations that tasks for the non-assessment part of the computer science GCSE had been leaked online and had been viewed thousands of times.
This means that the 20-hour non-examined assessment of pupils undertaking GCSE computer science will not now count towards their final grades this year or next year. The assessment was worth 20% of their overall grade.
Ofqual now says that their proposals for changing the way the tests for computer science are run will now go ahead after a consultation led to 75% of respondents supporting the move.
Pupils will still sit their GCSE computer science test
However, pupils will still sit their GCSE computer science test in the coming months and instead of being given a mark that will affect their final grade, they will be given feedback on their test performance.
Ofqual’s chief regulator, Sally Collier, said: “The tasks will no longer be contributing to pupils’ grades and we believe strongly that learning about programming language and having the opportunity of showing how it can be used to resolve problems is important.”
The latest announcement follows Ofqual’s revelation last week that widespread malpractice in computing exams has helped contribute to a near 150% increase in penalties being issued to school staff last year.
In a statement, Ofqual says: “The consultation responses have confirmed that regrettably the current situation must be addressed to ensure the qualification is fair for students and preserve the qualification’s credibility.”
However, despite this it appears that 54% of those who responded to the consultation have disagreed with the preferred approach from Ofqual that would see pupil completing the non-assessed task.
Also, several exam boards wanted the non-exam assessment to still contribute to grades of pupils taking computer science this summer.
GCSE computer science grades will now be determined by exam performance
The move will see GCSE computer science grades now being determined by exam performance and Ofqual has noted: “Students teachers and exam boards have raised concerns that pupils who have invested effort in non-exam assessment tasks will feel demotivated if their performance does not contribute to their final grade.
“This could undermine their determination to perform well and their confidence in exams.”
Ofqual has now written to pupils apologising for changing the qualification at this late stage and admitting that not everyone agrees with their decision.