Controversial GCSE grade rule change ‘must be reversed’

HEADS DOWN Schools say grade changes for GCSE exams have been unfair
HEADS DOWN Schools say grade changes for GCSE exams have been unfair

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CONTROVERSIAL grade boundary changes that meant some pupils lost out in last year’s GCSE English exams must be reversed, the city council’s education leader has said.

The plea from Councillor Rob Wood, cabinet member for children and education at Portsmouth City Council, comes as the results of a High Court hearing into last summer’s controversial results for English GCSE are expected this month.

The city council joined local authorities across the country to launch a legal challenge over the issue.

The claim is that grade boundaries were unfairly adjusted by exam boards.

Many students missed out on getting the C grade they needed because of the change.

Figures released by the council show that 342 pupils in the city were given a D grade for English. A total of 147 of these had achieved an A*-C grade in maths.

Cllr Wood said: ‘I hope they do the right thing which is change the grade boundary to what it was in January.

‘That’s the fair thing that they should do.

‘They shifted the goalposts after the exams had been taken. I have no doubt in my mind that a lot of those students would have done a lot better and the teachers would have pushed more if they had known.

‘We would have seen better results.’

In Portsmouth, pupils at City Boys, City Girls and King Richard schools were affected.

This year, the percentage of pupils receiving the ‘gold standard’, which is five or more A*-C grades including English and maths, rose to 52 per cent from 45.5 per cent in the city.

But while maths improved by over 10 per cent, English results saw only a one per cent improvement.

‘This isn’t about raising standards – we all agree about raising standards,’ Cllr Wood added. ‘It’s about fairness. One of the things I’m concerned about is the outcome for young people.

‘The correct thing to do is to get the boundary where it should have been.

‘I feel really strongly about this. I think it’s really unfair.’

Hampshire County Council – which controls schools in Fareham, Havant, Gosport and Waterlooville – is not supporting the legal action.