THOUSANDS of Birmingham pupils are still in the dark over how they performed in vital classroom tests due to the exam marking fiasco.
The city’s education chiefs have revealed that many 11 and 14-year-olds across Birmingham’s primary and secondary schools would still not receive the outcome of their Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 tests taken this summer until after Christmas.
And dozens of schools are also awaiting the results of appeals after objecting to the marks which their pupils were given on their English, maths and science papers. More than 3,600 appeals alone are still outstanding on reading and writing tests at Key Stage 3 out of around 13,000 across the city.
As a result, Birmingham education authority has been resigned to producing a best ‘guesstimate’ for the work of 11 and 14-year-olds, although provisional figures have shown a further improvement at both Key Stage levels.
The external marking chaos, which has led to the scrapping of national performance tables at Key Stage 3 after next year, threatened to overshadow the city’s 16-year-old students who produced another record-breaking performance at GCSE.
The percentage of pupils achieving at least five A*-Cs is now 66.4 per cent compared to 62 per cent last year, which also lifts it above the provisional national average for England of 64.6 per cent.
At the same time, every school in Birmingham achieved this year’s Government-imposed national floor target of at least 30 per cent of pupils achieving five or more GCSE passes at the top A*-C grades. The report also reveals an improvement in the relatively new benchmark figure of pupils achieving five A*-Cs which must include the key subjects of English and maths.
It rose from 41.8 per cent in 2007 to 45.4 per cent this year but, alarmingly, there are still 20 secondary schools in Birmingham below the government’s National Challenge floor target of 30 per cent.
The number of ‘at risk’ schools has dropped from 27 to 20 over the course of the last 12 months, but they only have until 2011 to turn things around or face possible government intervention and even the threat of being taken over or closed.
Tony Howell, Birmingham’s strategic director of children, young people and families, said: “We have been working with the government to group schools as fairly low risk or medium and high risk. About ten of those 20 schools are medium to high risk, but we are confident we will get that down to zero by 2011.”
Coun Jon Hunt, chairman of the city’s education scrutiny committee, said some schools still perform “quite badly” at English and maths, adding that there were real challenges in raising standards from a very early age.
Overall, the city closed the ‘equality gaps’ for underachieving groups, with black Caribbean boys’ five or more A*-C results increasing by two per cent to 53 per cent, Pakistani boys’ results by nine per cent to 60 per cent, and white disadvantaged boys by two per cent to 40 per cent.