Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

No Regrading in English Exam Scandal: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

No Regrading in English Exam Scandal: News

Article excerpt

High Court rules that Ofqual and exam bodies acted within the law.

Thousands of pupils caught up in the GCSE English grading scandal will not be offered regrading it was revealed this week, as the High Court rejected a legal challenge to the results.

An alliance of pupils, schools, teaching unions and local authorities had argued that the dramatic increase in grade boundaries between January and June last year was a "statistical fix" that amounted to an "abuse of power" by exams regulator Ofqual and the Edexcel and AQA exam boards.

But the court ruled that they acted within the law. There had been "unfairness", it said, but it is "the structure of the qualification itself which is the source of such unfairness... and not any unlawful action by either Ofqual or the awarding bodies".

The boards were pleased but said there were lessons to learn. Ofqual chief regulator Glenys Stacey said: "We welcome the decision of the court that, faced with a difficult situation, Ofqual did the right thing and the fairest thing, for the right reasons. If we had followed the course of action called for by the claimants, the value of GCSE English would have been 'debased'."

The alliance took the action as the only available means of redress in a controversy that involved more than 30,000 pupils whose schools argued that they had been unfairly awarded D rather than C grades. Ofqual issued two reports on the affair, but as an active participant in the grading it was not seen as impartial.

When a similar A-level grading scandal erupted in the summer of 2002 a quick independent inquiry led to nearly 10,000 papers being regraded. …

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