Heads to fight "immoral" GCSE grade changesBy Jon Nurse
September 20, 2012
Headteachers are backing a legal challenge against the controversial changing of GCSE English marks which cost pupils essential grades.
Some believe pupils were ‘robbed’ after an ‘immoral’ eleventh hour change in grade boundaries by exam boards, which may have significantly affected their futures.
AQA, the English exam board for many schools, including The Emmbrook, St Crispin’s, The Holt and The Piggott, confirmed all boards raised grade boundaries for GCSE English midway through the school year to maintain standards.
Schools across the borough have sent information to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) which is challenging the grading change and hopes the move could see pupils marks altered.
Emmbrook headteacher Nigel Matthias said: “I don’t think students should be affected by a technical change at the 11th hour – it’s immoral.
“Our English results went up overall but the students were robbed of another seven or eight per cent.
“Sixteen of our students would have received a C under the grade boundaries published in January but have ended up with a D.
“It’s traditional for AQA to stick with the boundaries set during the course. We worked closely with students to encourage them to get the extra marks they would need for a C, they have done that and still not got the grade.
“As far as employers and universities are concerned one of the big hurdles is having English and maths with at least a C or above.”
Pupils can retake the exams for free this term, but Mr Matthias feels this is unfair since they stopped studying before the summer and need months of preparation to reach the required standard.
The Holt School estimates 20 students missed out on a C after the change, while between 18 and 25 students at The Piggott School were affected.
Kevin Harley, The Piggott’s deputy headteacher, said: “A lot of employers and universities insist on a C as a minimum. We also have students that only got Bs when they should have had As – it’s affected the year’s profile.
“You can expect certain adjustments but for it to be three quarters of the way through the year is just unfair.”
St Crispin’s School’s acting head Win Patterson, said: “If students that missed their targets had been marked against January’s boundary they would have met them. We have made full representation of our dissatisfaction using various means.”
A nationwide survey by ASCL found more than 1,300 schools felt they were affected.
An ASCL spokeswoman said: “We are in discussion with Ofqual and are preparing a legal challenge together with an alliance of organisations.
“This is a real priority. It needs to be done quickly as the grades could be changed if this is successful.”
Education Secretary Michael Gove announced on Monday GCSEs in England would be replaced by an English Baccalaureate Certificate.