WJEC exam body to re-mark some GCSE English papers after review

The BBC is reporting that Welsh exams board WJEC is to re-mark some of the new GCSE English papers taken in January after carrying out a review into “unexpectedly low grades”…

The grades, which were issued earlier this month, left heads at secondary schools across Wales shocked.

But the WJEC found the marking scheme was applied consistently in all but one of the cases reviewed.

The six centres whose candidates’ work was marked by that examiner have been told and 318 papers will be re-marked.

The internal review also found the results of papers from two pupils had been added up incorrectly.

Gareth Pierce, the WJEC’s chief executive, said: “We understand that this has been a distressing period for teachers and pupils alike.

“We hope that this review along with the Welsh government’s fact-finding exercise provides reassurance that we are collectively undertaking appropriate action to assess and remedy the situation.

“WJEC remains firmly committed to supporting high standards of education to learners in Wales, delivering qualifications which are rigorous, fair and valued.”

The unit, or module, was part of the first Wales-only GCSE examinations, ordered after a split between England, Northern Ireland and Wales in 2012.

About 22,500 pupils sat the exam but there was shock and anger on 6 March at unexpected poor grades awarded to students who sat the new exam in January.

Head teachers wrote to Education Minister Huw Lewis saying the test results have eroded confidence in the examinations system.

Following the outcry at the grades awarded, exam officials stressed that tougher requirements on accuracy in the new exam and a much higher number of students taking the papers could explain lower grades.

But BBC Wales learnt that schools were assured 16 months ago by the Welsh government that pupils would not be disadvantaged by new English language GCSEs.

As well as the internal review into marking, the exam board said schools and exam centres could still challenge individual results using the traditional appeal route…

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said the findings of the review were “positive”.

WJEC officials previously said they would be making more support available to schools preparing for the next round of exams in June.

Measures include:

  • Post-exam review meetings at the end of March and in April, with heads of all English departments invited to a session
  • Extra specimen assessment material to be made available, with marking schemes
  • Additional feedback on two questions that students found most difficult in the January exam unit

The Welsh government is carrying out its own review into the January exams and will announce its findings at a later date…

More at: WJEC exam body to re-mark some GCSE English papers after review

If I’m reading this correctly, 318 papers are going to be re-marked but 22,500 sat the exam. That doesn’t sound like it’s going to make much of an impact on the results? Please let us know what you think in the comments or via Twitter…

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