Students braced for A-level results fiasco

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The Independent Online

Thousands of students may be unable to receive their A-level results this week after schools and colleges failed to meet crucial deadlines.

Thousands of students may be unable to receive their A-level results this week after schools and colleges failed to meet crucial deadlines.

This summer's A-level results are due to be published on Thursday and will be the first to show the full achievements of candidates under Curriculum 2000, which introduced the controversial AS-levels.

Around 1.6 million results are due to be published but exam boards have warned that many students may not receive their results because their schools failed to submit their course work results on time. Without this information the boards will be unable to calculate some students' final grades. These candidates will have their grade recorded as "Q" and will not learn whether they have achieved the results needed to secure their university place until their final results can be calculated.

Late results can mean that universities are unable to confirm conditional offers of places. Students could risk losing their places on degree courses.

Tony Higgins, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, said that some exam boards had warned of missing grades for some pupils.

The exam board Edexcel may be hardest hit by the problem because it runs the most vocational courses that involve the most coursework.

Last summer, a record number of students received incomplete results because their coursework marks were not returned in time. To tackle this problem the exam boards launched a campaign this spring to alert schools and colleges to the problem. The boards also face the problem of "pirate entries", where they receive exam papers from candidates that they had no record of being entered for the exam.

A spokeswoman for Edexcel said the board had received 40,000 "pirate entries" and the results of 250,000 pieces of course work had not been returned on time.

She said: "Ultimately this could mean that students do not get their results on time. We have done everything we can to ensure the data is returned, but at the end of the day there is nothing we can do if schools do not inform us of coursework grades."

George Turnbull, spokes- man for the Joint Council for General Qualifications, the exam boards' umbrella body which publishes the results said the late return of coursework grades had caused "enormous problems".

"There has been no stone left unturned. We have made every effort to ensure that all the results are ready on time. Overall, the results will not be late, but there will be some results that will not be issued on time".

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