New book reveals unreliability of A-Level and GSCE grades

Posted on August 10 2022

New book reveals unreliability of A-Level and GSCE grades - Canbury Press

4th August 2022

Canbury Press is publishing an investigative book that exposes the stark unreliability of GCSE and A’Level grades due for release this summer.

Missing the Mark by Dennis Sherwood, out this month, has been ushered into print for the release of this summer’s results, the first time youngsters have sat real exams for three years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It reveals the deep flaws in GCSEs, AS-Levels and A-Levels affecting one in four school exam grades awarded in England each year.

Canbury’s managing director Martin Hickman acquired world rights directly from the author, a management consultant with expertise in complex mathematics.

The book’s publication follows a bumpy time for school exams following the ‘mutant algorithm’ fiasco in 2020 and further problems in 2021 that led to the entire results system being scrapped in favour of teacher assessments.

The body that implemented the algorithm, Ofqual, is in charge of overseeing the exam system in England.

Subtitled Why So Many School Exam Grades are Wrong – and How to Get Results We Can Trust, Missing the Mark reveals the variability in the award of exam grades.

An A-Level grade B might have been an A, or even a C, had a different examiner marked the script. Similarly, a GCSE grade 7 might have received a grade 8 or a 6.

That means one in four grades – around 1.5 million each year – are wrong, drastically changing the life chances for thousands of young people applying for jobs and university places.

Martin Hickman, MD of Canbury Press, a non-fiction specialist, said: “For years young people and their parents have often quite been surprised by the grades they have received for individual subjects. Sometimes this is down to their performance in the exam hall, but, unbeknownst to them, randomness lurks at the heart of the system.

“In this easy-to-read and slowly devastating book, Dennis Sherwood exposes this unfairness and explains why so many pupils receive final grades that don’t do them justice. And he suggests ways to regain trust, which apply to essay-based exams throughout the world.

“It’s a must-read for every pupil, parent and teacher concerned about the grades awarded.” 

Dennis Sherwood is a management consultant with experience of solving complex problems. He has a Physics degree from the University of Cambridge, an MPhil in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and a PhD in biology from the University of California in San Diego.

After being a consulting partner at Deloitte Haskins + Sells, and Coopers & Lybrand, he became an executive director at Goldman Sachs. He now runs his own business, The Silver Bullet Machine Manufacturing Company Limited, specialising in organisational creativity and innovation. He is author of 14 books.

Biblio info

ISBN: 9781912454990 (print hardback)

9781914487002 (ebook)


SUBTITLE: Why So Many School Exam

Grades are Wrong – and How to Get Results

We Can Trust

AUTHOR: Dennis Sherwood

PUB DATE: 4th August 2022

PRICE: £25 (print) / £15.99 (ebook)

EXTENT: 448p

FORMAT: ROYAL hardback

(234mm x 156mm)



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