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Exam board pushed Edexcel to shift GCSE grade marks
It comes as Southampton ’s education chief last night joined calls for an investigation into the fiasco that saw hundreds of teenagers given lower grades in English because of the harder marking regime introduced without warning.
Letters published today show Edexcel, which is used by many Southampton and Hampshire schools, was forced to alter the marks needed to achieve a C grade in the key subject by ten points, just days before pupils discovered how they had done.
The exam board eventually agreed to the change, which meant candidates who took exams in June were given worse results for better performances than those who sat papers in January.
The debacle has led to many teenagers missing out on college places or apprenticeships.
As reported by the Daily Echo , furious head teachers, school and college representatives and senior local authority officials have launched a campaign to force a Parliamentary debate on the fiasco.
Southampton’s schools boss, Councillor Sarah Bogle, last night backed that petition and said she believes there should be an investigation into what happened.
She said: “Ofqual have some serious questions to answer.
“They should be independent of political pressure. That’s just not a good enough excuse.
“I’m looking into how it has affected Southampton schools – I’m going to be going through that in the next few weeks.
“It’s very disappointing and very unfair.
“An inquiry may bring some kind of answers.”
The letters between Ofqual and Edexcel reveal examiners’ judgements on grades were overruled by the watchdog, which was concerned grades would be higher than predictions based on pupils’ performance in exams they took aged 11.
Despite exam board officials saying the results were fair, Edexcel ultimately accepted suggestions the grade boundaries should be changed.
The score needed for a C from the June papers rose by ten marks from the January exams, to 65 out of 96.
They have led to calls for the regulator’s head, Glenys Stacey, to resign immediately because her position is “untenable”, while questions have been raised as to whether pressure was put on other exam boards with which schools have reported problems with grades, including AQA.
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Ofqual’s insistence that standards were comparable no longer |holds water. Thousands of students have been treated unfairly because flawed implementation of a new qualification.”