An Analysis of the Relationship between Exam Results and Ofsted’s Ratings

The new Ofsted framework, introduced in 2019, promised to focus more on what schools were teaching students rather than just exam results. However, recent inspection ratings seem to contradict this shift, with schools achieving lower than expected results being rated ‘outstanding’ while those with higher results losing their top grade. The cancellation of exams during the Covid-19 pandemic has further complicated the situation, leaving inspectors without access to performance data during the 2021-2022 academic year. Analysis has revealed that the link between results and Ofsted outcomes has dipped when national data was not available, but has since rebounded. Some schools with lower outcomes have been rated ‘good’, with several reports referencing the inclusiveness of the school’s curriculum. However, this shift in focus away from grades has led to ‘outlier’ judgments, with more schools with lower outcomes being rated ‘good’ than before the introduction of the new inspections.

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