'Tens of thousands' affected by GCSE grade boundary changes, say heads

 

Headteachers today claimed that tens of thousands of teenagers could have been adversely affected by grade boundary changes in GCSE English.

Pupils on the borderline of C and D grades were most likely to be hit, according to a new analysis by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

ASCL has been calling for this summer's English GCSE exams to be re-graded amid an ongoing row over changes to grade boundaries.

National GCSE results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, published last week, revealed 69.4% of all GCSE exams were given at least a C grade - down 0.4 percentage points on last summer. It is the first time the A*-C pass rate has fallen in the 24-year history of GCSEs.

As the figures were published, angry headteachers claimed that exam boards had raised grade boundaries in English halfway through the year amid fears that too many children were going to get a C.

They have suggested that grade boundaries in this summer's English exams were substantially increased, with many reporting a drop in the number of children scoring a C or above in the key subject.

The new analysis, by David Blow, head of Ashcombe School in Dorking, and member of ASCL's data group, looked at the results pupils who took the exam in June would have obtained if the January grade boundaries had applied.

He said that his analysis of the distribution of marks and grades suggests that half of the 133,906 students who attained a D in English in June could have got a C grade if the boundaries had remained the same.

ASCL claimed their analysis used data from the AQA exam board, which it said had the largest numbers of entries for English and English language GCSE.

Mr Blow told the TES: "The numbers of pupils potentially involved could amount to many tens of thousands of candidates."

ASCL general secretary Brian Lightman said there was "enormous concern" across the education sector about the GCSE English results, adding: "The more feedback we get, the more serious this crisis has proved itself to be."

Earlier this week, the exams regulator Ofqual admitted that there are questions about how grade boundaries were set in a small number of English units over the year.

Ofqual met with education unions yesterday, as part of an investigation into the GCSE English results.

It is investigating the issue and is due to publish an initial report on Friday.

An AQA spokeswoman told the TES that grade boundaries can change between exam series, and that this is a normal part of the assessment process.

"This variation can occur, for example, as a result of the way students' performance spreads across the mark range," she said.

"So, at one level of performance candidates may have earned comparatively similar marks, and at another the marks might be quite spread out.

"In this case, examiners will take the spread of marks into account when they set the grade boundaries in order to reflect the appropriate standard."

PA

Suggested Topics
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

SEN Science Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum + SEN allowance: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are ...

MLD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: MLD teachers required West Midlands...

Media Studies Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting for a M...

History Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup