EDUCATION Secretary Michael Gove has suggested limiting the number of students who achieve A* grades at A-level and raised the prospect of ranking youngsters on their results.
The Education Secretary said he was putting forward the proposals in order to “open up the debate” around the exams system.
But teachers’ leaders moved quickly to raise concerns, warning such moves could set bright children up to fail.
Speaking at an Ofqual conference on standards, Mr Gove suggested that, in the future, only a certain fixed percentage of students could be awarded an A* at A-level.
This system, known as “norm referencing”, was used to grade exams between 1963 and 1987, with around the top 10% awarded an A.
Under the current system, any student that gains an A overall, as well as scoring at least 90% in each of their papers in the second year, achieves an A*.
Mr Gove told the conference: “We can’t go back to a situation where all exams are graded on the basis of norm referencing.”
But he added: “I think it’s important to open the debate.
“Could it be the case that while we award As, Bs and Cs entirely on the basis of criterion reached, is there a case for exploring whether or not A*s should be allocated only to a fixed percentage of candidates?”