11 Sep 2012

GCSE English and the great Welsh regrades

So. if you took your GCSE English exam in January, you had an easier time of it than your friends who took it in June.

If you took it in Wales you’ll now get a regrade. If you sat it over the border in England, you won’t. It’s hard to see how this situation could ever be regarded as fair – or how it can remain unchanged.

The decision by the Welsh Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, to demand a regrade of GCSE English results for Welsh students, now means that they may well end up getting a better grade than their English counterparts who received the same marks, sitting exactly the same exams.

Ofqual continue to insist that the final results handed out last month are the right ones.

They acknowledge that when grade boundaries were changed in the middle of last year it did create an inherent inequality. Students needed fewer marks to get a crucial C grade if they took the exam in January than students who took the same exam in June. The chief regulator explained it away like this: “A small number of students in January got lucky.”

Now a much larger number of students in Wales have perhaps also “got lucky”, with every chance that their D grades will change into that all important C.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has already conceded that students were treated unfairly but says it would be wrong of him to interfere.

Will he be able to hold that line? Hard to see how.

The Welsh regrade will be complete within seven days. Then the boundary between a C grade and a D grade may become as much about the border between England and Wales.

The talk of judicial review can only get louder.

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