Ealing Students Lose Out on Exam Regrading

Regulator is being challenged over results

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It's been revealed more than a hundred students in Ealing who took their English GCSE in June were given a lower grade than those who took it in January because marking systems had had changed.

The grade boundaries for the GCSE English foundation paper was increased significantly between the January 2012 and June 2012 exams. No notice was given to schools that this was to happen.

This change had the most impact on students on the C/D grade borderline and, as a result, more than a hundred Ealing pupils have been left with D grades who, had they sat the exam in January, would have got a pass at C. GCSE English is a requirement for most further and higher education courses, as well as vocational training.

Ealing Council has joined forces with local authorities, schools and professional bodies across the country to challenge exam regulator Ofqual and exam bodies AQA and Edexel over this summer’s GCSE English results.

The council has joined an alliance of 113 schools, 36 local authorities and six professional bodies. They are asking that students sitting their GCSE English exam papers in June be graded using the same criteria used for students who sat the exam in January.

Councillor Patricia Walker, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This massive shift in grade boundaries was unprecedented, underhand and unfair. I believe that exams should be rigorous, but significantly increasing thresholds half way through the year, without any prior notification to schools, has put a significant number of our young people at a huge disadvantage.

“All of our students should have been subject to the same standards of assessment, regardless of the time of year they sat their exam.”

Mathew Cramer, headteacher of Greenford High School, said: “Changing the grade boundary in English was no different than moving the goalposts half way through a football match. At the very least it was bewildering and disappointing; at worst it seems unjust.

“At Greenford High, it prevented us from reaching the 80% mark for 5 A*-C grades, including maths and English, for the very first time. More importantly, it stopped 17 students from achieving their target grade in English. Inevitably, this has had a real impact on them at both a personal and an academic level.”

A ‘Pre-Action Letter’ written in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review has been sent to Ofqual, AQA and Edexcel. They have until Thursday 27 September 2012 to respond.

26th September 2012