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Suffolk: GCSE resit results poses more questions over marking

11:47 21 December 2012

Geoff Barton from King Edwards School in Bury St Edmunds

Geoff Barton from King Edwards School in Bury St Edmunds

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THE HEADTEACHER of a leading Suffolk school has claimed that results from the GCSE English resits poses more questions about the marking of this summer’s exam.

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About 2,000 Suffolk students were left with lower than expected marks after AQA and Edexcel exam boards raised the boundary needed to get a grade C between January and June.

Geoff Barton, of King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, who has repeatedly criticised exams regulator Ofqual for not addressing the situation, said grades from November’s resits have again suggested that “something was up” with the marking.

Speaking days after an alliance of schools, councils and teaching unions asked High Court judges to remark June’s papers, Mr Barton said seven out of 11 students who re-sat the English exam achieved higher grades.

He added: “First, good on the students and I am delighted for the students that got their C. But they should not have had to resit.

“I think there are going to be questions about the marking and how strictly they kept to the grade boundaries, and whether it makes for a comparable outcome.”

Mr Barton said “it seems odd” that at least four pupils who had not received extra English teaching or revision classes got better grades on their resit than when they had taken their exam at the end of 11 years of teaching.

The outcome from the judicial review into this summer’s GCSE results is expected on January 13.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), of which Mr Barton is a member, said: “The GCSE English debacle has affected the lives of thousands of young people whose futures have been altered by a statistical aberration.

“We hope the courts will see sense and order a regrade, thus giving those who sat the exam the result they deserve.”

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said: “We are quietly optimistic about the outcome.

“Thousands of young people in England were unfairly downgraded in June in order to compensate for mistakes made earlier in the year.

“The only fair course of action for these students is to regrade the papers.”

Mr Barton said he hoped the ruling would follow the Welsh Government and order a remark.

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