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Exams probe gets us nowhere, says head
THE headteacher of a Worcestershire school says an initial investigation into the downgrading of English language GCSE papers has “achieved nothing”.
Yesterday, exam regulator Ofqual concluded papers marked in January were “graded generously”, while those assessed in June were correct.
It said this had led to schools being over-reliant on the January 2012 boundaries to set expectations as there was little other information available to them at the time. However, the body will not be revising the results of the January papers or re-marking the June grades at an equivalent level. Instead, it has offered students who took the June exam the chance to re-sit in November.
As previously reported in your Worcester News , headteachers across the county expressed their anger after they were seemingly kept in the dark over grade boundary changes. There was an unexpected drop in the number of students achieving their predicted grades after the number of marks required to achieve a C grade was increased.
Speaking after yesterday’s announcement, Pershore High School headteacher Clive Corbett said he would continue to press Ofqual for answers.
He said: “I agree it’s unfair to revisit the January boundaries but to say that the June grade boundaries are properly set when they are not comparable is unfair. I will press Ofqual further to ask what they’ve achieved with a review that has so far achieved nothing.” Mr Corbett said there was also a practical issue with the offer of the re-sit as many students who sat the exam this summer will have moved on from their schools.
According to Ofqual, a “complex and unique” set of circumstances created a “highly unusual” situation for schools, colleges and their students.
Chief regulator, Glenys Stacey, said: “We looked carefully at how exam boards managed the GCSE English qualifications. People were particularly concerned about the June grade boundaries.
“We have found that examiners acted properly, and set the boundaries using best professional judgement, taking into account all of the evidence available. The June boundaries have been properly set, and candidates’ work properly graded.
“The issue is not the June but January boundaries. Again, examiners used their best judgement.