I have up-dated the severe grading information with the June 2011 data here:
In fact virtually all the trends are a continuation of previous trends and severe grading remains an acute issue, both at GCSE and A level (including A* at A level).
A new concern is the drop in the GCSE A* grades (both percentage and actual numbers).
This is the year of the new specifications and the changes to speaking for which there had been hopes that the grading situation would improve as candidates are better able to demonstrate what they know and can do with teacher control of what the content is and more flexibility over the exam conditions (see Dearing Review based on teacher comments and subsequent consultation).
Sadly this is not the case and there seem to be a range of concerns about the grades and skill marks. The posted information analyses overall grades because that is the only information currently available. It will be important over the coming months to do a thorough analysis of the skill marks across the country and across the boards. It is often the case that with changes to specifications etc. there are more fluctuations in the marking and it will be important to distinguish between the ‘first year randomness’ and underlying trends.