There are at least 400 young people in Leeds whose future’s have been left hanging in the balance because of the unfair grading by some examination boards. The option to offer a re-sit is absolutely unacceptable and totally misses the point. This is not an issue of standards it’s an issue of fairness in relation to work students have already completed. These young people who, if their GCSE papers had been submitted just six months earlier with the same mark would have been awarded a ‘C’ grade, but were given a ‘D’ because of changes to the grade boundaries.
I am shocked Ofqual have suggested the grading in June was ‘fair’ – this does not help the thousands of young people who are now left without college places or apprenticeships through no fault of their own. We feel there is compelling evidence to formally pursue a judicial review against Ofqual and the examination boards responsible. We will contact the authorities and schools who have already approached us regarding joining forces on any legal action to ensure we get justice for the young people who have been so unfairly treated.
We urge college leaders and Further Education providers to be sympathetic to the young people who are affected by this to ensure they are not penalised for the examination boards’ mistake and Ofqual’s lack of action.”
– Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children’s services
We have found that examiners acted properly, and set the boundaries using their best professional judgement, taking into account all of the evidence available to them. The June boundaries have been properly set, and candidates' work properly graded. _The issue is not the June, but the January boundaries. Again, examiners used their best judgement in setting these boundaries, but they had less data and information to work with.
Most candidates were not sitting at the time, they were waiting for June, and because they were new qualifications, examiners could not rely so much on direct comparisons with the past. As a result, those grade boundaries were set generously. We have thought carefully about what should be done, and spoken with external assessment experts about it. Our job is to maintain standards over time, so grades awarded are comparable from one year to the next.