GCSE row: Unions urge WJEC to waive resit fees

Unions NAHT Cymru & ASCL Cymru have written a joint letter to WJEC, asking it to waive fees for re-sitting GCSE English Language units this summer.

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'No one single aspect' contributed to 'low' GCSE grades

An urgent review into claims thousands of GCSE pupils in Wales received unexpectedly low grades in their January English Language papers has concluded 'no one single aspect' contributed.

It appears that our sample schools were generally prepared for the new specification and the revised weighting for SSPS [sentence structure, punctuation and spelling]. Indications are that schemes of work were amended and predicted grades were modelled on the new specification. Generally the examination papers matched teachers’ expectations of the new specification and there were few surprises for teachers or pupils. There is no evidence to suggest that WJEC did not follow the correct procedures at all times.

– Welsh Government: January 2014 GCSE English Language unit results fact-finding exercise

The review did, however, identify a number of themes - including changes in entry patterns; late change to specification; increased weighting on accuracy, sentence structure, punctuation and spelling; insufficient quality and quantity of support materials; and a 'difficult to navigate' WJEC website.

It added: "The drop from 23.6% C grades for Unit 1 Foundation Tier in January 2013 to 4.6% in January 2014 should certainly have focused attention. The fact that lower outcomes were communicated to Welsh Government on the date of publication is a concern."

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