Union says changing grade boundaries during the school year has ‘punished’ students


The NUT has called for an independent enquiry into the GCSE fiasco it says has ‘punished’ students.

Yesterday exam regulator Ofqual admitted changing grade boundaries during the course of the year so a student sitting an exam in June would have needed to have done better than a student sitting the same exam in January to achieve the same grade.

NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “Reports suggest Ofqual knew three years ago there was a problem in the examination system. Ofqual’s very weak and disappointing report today does not recognise that they have let down teachers, students and schools. We reiterate the fact that there needs to be an independent enquiry.

“It still remains the fact that it is simply scandalous to change the grade boundaries halfway through a school year. There are thousands of pupils who got enough marks to get a C in English in January who have now got a grade D.

“Pupils should not be punished in this way because of the failures of the exam regulator or others. This scandal constitutes a real attack on these students’ chances to continue in education, employment or apprenticeships.

“Our suspicion is many of the students affected will also be those who have already lost out on getting the Education Maintenance Allowance and who will be most put off trying for university because of the trebling of tuition fees. At a time of high youth unemployment this is a highly irresponsible course to have taken.

“Resits are of no use whatsoever to pupils who need their results this week, not in a few months time. This year’s English GCSEs need to be urgently re-graded using the January boundaries which schools, teachers and pupils have all been working towards.

“Young people, teachers’ and schools feel badly let down by both the examination system and the government. The speculation that Michael Gove’s talk of grade inflation and slimming down of examination boards led to this year’s problem has not gone away.

“To restore trust in the system, and the Education Secretary, there needs to be a speedy and independent inquiry into this situation. This inquiry should also examine the interaction between so called grade inflation and the high stakes examinations and league table system.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Author avatar