Exam boards told to rewrite GCSE maths tests that are 'too hard'
Exam boards have been ordered to write new GCSE maths papers after an investigation concluded they were too hard for many students.
There was a "significant risk" that exams drawn up by three out of the four main awarding bodies were too difficult for the full range of pupil abilities, the exams regulator Ofqual found.
The regulator said that the exams would "not function well" and there was a "significant risk" that grade boundaries could not be set accurately. This could lead to unreliable grading of students' work, it suggested.
The study found that the exams were successfully stretching the most able students but were too difficult for almost everyone else. "There is a significant risk that all but AQA's assessments will be too difficult for the full range of ability for the cohort for which the qualification is intended," Ofqual's report concluded.
Three exam boards - OCR, Pearson and WJEC - have been told to rewrite papers to make them more accessible to pupils of all abilities, not just the most able. A fourth, AQA, has been told to make its papers aimed at the least able students more difficult.
The new maths GCSE is due to be introduced to schools and colleges this September as part of a major overhaul started by the Coalition to toughen up qualifications.