Ofqual denied applying pressure to exam boards to change their grades, saying it was merely playing its proper role in regulating standards.
Schools alliance have announced they have formed an alliance to demand an independent inquiry into the GCSE English grading fiasco.
The exam regulator says GCSE English exams were graded generously in January, but it found no problem with the boundaries set for June.
Education Secretary Michael Gove told the Commons Education select committee that the GCSE grading row shows the need for reform. He said:
As this committee has identified, we have a problem with competing exam boards all seeking to offer the same qualification.
- New GCSE English syllabuses introduced with pupils sitting an exam and submitting two pieces of coursework (so-called 'controlled assessment') done under strict classroom supervision
- January: First students take GCSE exams via controlled assesment
- June: Majority of students complete GCSE English exams
- August 23: Proportion of GCSEs awarded grade C or above for the first time in history
- August 24: Teachers union urges Michael Gove to establish independent inquiry
- August 28: ASCL calls for students marked down in June to have grades reissued and based on January grade boundaries.
- August 31: Ofqual publishes report saying January's exams were "graded generously" and that June exams were properly graded.
- September 7: Schools unite to demand an inquiry
Welsh Education Minister Leighton Andrews has issued a direction to examination board WJEC to re-grade this summer's English GCSE English language results for qualifications delivered in Wales.
The head of exams regulator Ofqual, Glenys Stacey, told MPs told the Commons Education Committee that if January's grade boundaries had been applied to June's students, there would have been grade inflation of 5 or 6%.
What we have seen so far, and we have nothing to doubt it, and don't expect to doubt it, is that the June boundary setting occurred properly.
That does, as I say, leave us all in a very uncomfortable position, and we have thought carefully about fairness, and we keep on thinking about it. We do think the right thing to do is to offer a re-sit opportunity to those students.
Education Secretary Michael Gove briefed ministers on his plans to reform GCSEs at this morning's meeting of Cabinet in 10 Downing Street. The Prime Minister's spokesman said an announcement on the plans is expected soon. He said:
"Obviously, we sympathise with students who didn't get the grades they needed. But we have an independent regulator. It is the job of that regulator to make sure standards are maintained over time and it is not the job of ministers to intervene in that."
Ofqual boss Glenys Stacey, told MPs that Ofqual wrote to the Edexcel and WJEC exam boards after their preliminary results were too generous. She said:
Edexcel - the preliminary results were high. If the provisional results had been left to stand I think we were looking at 6% or 7% inflation and I suspect there would have been a different outcry had that been the outcome. They were certainly out of line with the other awarding body results. There was a clear recognition that this really did need a challenge.
The head of exams regulator Ofqual, Glenys Stacey, told the Commons Education Committee that they would be happy to take part in an inquiry, internal or otherwise, into the GCSE English results. She said:
We have reacted very promptly by concerns addressed to us by schools and colleges, and I know that they recognise that, we have been very open with them about the data information that we are collecting and the conclusions that we are reaching.
We really want to do more to get to the root of this, it is our top priority, it is our job to make sure that standards are right.
Of course we will not object if there is any other sort of inquiry, not at all.
The editor of the Times Education Supplement, Gerard Kelly, told ITV News that the letters leaked to his publication show GCSE students were penalised for Ofqual's earlier mistake in the January exam paper, were a majority of students performed better than expected.
The head of exams regulator Ofqual, Glenys Stacey, has told the Commons Education Committee that English GCSE results were down, approximately 1.5% this year, which was in line with expectations.
But she added that the drop was unequally distributed - something Ofqual is looking into.
"I think there are a few important points that we would like to make, first of all there has been no critical interference, secondly that awarding and grade boundary setting worked as it should have done for English, as it did indeed for other GCSE and A-levels."