Now English and Welsh pupils face different GCSE grades for exactly the same work

Pupils in England who took the disputed GCSE English exam could end up with a lower grade for exactly the same work as their counterparts in Wales. This follows an order from the Welsh government to regrade GCSEs in Wales. This is from the BBC…

The WJEC exam board says it is being told to raise GCSE grades in Wales while keeping them down in England.

The exam board says it wants conflicting regulators, Ofqual and the Welsh government, to find a more “coherent and rational way forward”.

Head teachers earlier told the education select committee that many schools had been angered by what they thought had been unfair GCSE English results.

But Glenys Stacey, head of Ofqual, told the education select committee that she rejected claims of any unfair manipulation of results or suggestion of political interference.

“We played our proper part,” she told the investigation into this summer’s controversial GCSE exam grades – and ruled out any further change in grades in England.

But the Welsh exam board, WJEC, has been ordered by the education minister in Wales to regrade the results in the disputed English exam – a requirement that would only apply to pupils in exam centres in Wales.

Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews said on Tuesday that pupils should not have to “live with the consequences of having been awarded what, in all likelihood, is the wrong GCSE grade” – and promised “swift resolution of injustice”.

This places the exam board – which has more candidates in England than Wales – in what it calls a “difficult and unexpected position”.

“We now find one regulator confirming that the decision made was correct, and another asking us to re-grade, reversing the previous joint decision,” says a spokesman for the WJEC exam board – which is believed to be the second biggest provider in the UK for this exam.

This would mean that within the common currency of the GCSE, there could be different levels of awards for the same piece of work from the same exam board, depending on whether the exam was taken in Wales or England.

The select committee had also been told by Ofqual that there had been concerns that pupils in Wales were performing at a lower level than in England – and that this had caused difficulties in setting grades with the WJEC exam board.

This confusion over the value of GCSEs comes against a background in which Education Secretary Michael Gove is preparing to overhaul the GCSE system for pupils in England.

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