Exams regulator to overhaul grading of GCSE English papers in wake of outcry

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GRADING of this year’s GCSE English papers is to be overhauled in the wake of the summer fiasco, England’s exams regulator has confirmed.

Any exams or work submitted for the subject next January will be marked, but not graded until after June’s exam season, Ofqual announced yesterday.

The change comes after this summer’s grading controversy, in which grade boundaries were moved mid-year.

Head teachers have said that tens of thousands of students received lower GCSE English grades than expected this year, mainly around the C/D border, after exam boards moved the grade boundaries between January and June.

The move is likely to affect one year only, as from next September English GCSEs will no longer be modular in England, with pupils sitting all of their exams at the end of the course.

Ofqual said that the change was first put forward in its report into GCSE English, which was published two weeks ago.

In a statement, Ofqual said: “Ofqual’s report identified a number of risks which could still affect 2013 students.

“Therefore this change is being made to protect those students as much as possible, and to protect the security and standards of the qualifications.

“No grades, or other information about aggregate performance, will be issued for January 2013 assessments (whether exam or controlled assessment) until June 2013 assessments have also been marked.

“Awards for both January and June assessments will be made at the same time.”

Controlled assessment is coursework which is carried out
in the classroom under strict
supervision rather than at

Ofqual’s GCSE English report found that teachers were guilty of “significantly” over-marking papers amid pressure to produce good results.

Teaching unions have reacted angrily to the suggestion, with some arguing that their marking had been verified and praised by marking moderators.

A national alliance including 11 councils from Yorkshire have launched a legal challenge over the fiasco, calling for this summer’s English results to be regraded.