Thousands given wrong GCSE grade

 

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The Independent Online

BETWEEN SIX and seven thousand teenagers have been given the wrong GCSE results because of a computer error.

The mistake means that the pupils, who sat science or humanities modular exams with the Northern Examinations and Assessment Board, could now receive higher grades.

New results will be issued tomorrow. The board said that no one would receive a poorer grade but some might receive one grade higher than their original mark.

Peter Dawson, the board's assistant chief executive, said the errors came to light when appeals against the results started to come in from schools.

The exams in question have three components: coursework, tests for modules throughout the course and final, externally marked tests worth a quarter of the total marks.

Problems arose because new software introduced this year did not aggregate the test scores properly.

Mr Dawson said: "There was nothing at all wrong with the marking. It was a computer error."

No more than 5 per cent of the 130,000 candidates who took the exams are expected to be affected.

One school involved is the Ridings School in Halifax. Anna White, the head who took over after the school closed during a discipline crisis two years ago, said she was surprised by the results of some abler pupils.

"We knew there was something wrong and we were prepared to put our necks out and do something about it.

"The pupils don't expect the exam boards to make a mistake and it has been quite a traumatic time for the school and for the science staff."

t Record numbers of A-level candidates have applied to university after receiving their results despite the introduction of pounds 1,000-a-year tuition fees, figures released yesterday by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) show.

The figure for last-minute applications through the clearing process, which matches applicants to unfilled university places, is even higher than last year when students rushed to join courses to avoid paying fees this autumn.

Tony Higgins, Ucas's chief executive, said: "The increase in people applying since receiving A-level results reflects the overall improvement in A-level grades but it also shows they are not being put off by fees. It is particularly impressive as last year was a record year for late applications."

This year there have been 9,069 new applications compared with 8,766 last year.

Yesterday's figures also show that the number of Malaysian applicants has more than halved after the fall in value of the Malaysian currency and the removal of tax relief for parents sending children overseas.

t The president of Oxford University students' union has been expelled for allegedly cheating in her exams.

Katherine Rainwood, 22, who read politics, philosophy and economics at St Hilda's College, is understood to be preparing to appeal against the decision. She was elected president on a "Labour students against tuition fees" slate.

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