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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:45 pm 
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Anyone else's school embroiled in this?

Dear Parents
As you may be aware, we have had some concerns about the marking of the GCSE English Language papers this year. Some of you have pointed out the media coverage outlining the scale of the problem and the significant rise or fall in A/A* grades compared with previous years. Schools are calling for Ofqual, the exams watchdog, to begin an inquiry into English language and literature marking.

As soon as the School became aware of the problem WJEC were contacted and on results day a batch of six were sent for a re-mark. We were awaiting the result of this before deciding what further action would be needed. Mr A., our Examinations Officer, contacted the board on Wednesday as they seemed to be taking a very long time to be processed. On Thursday we were informed that all six of that initial batch had gone up by a grade. One candidate’s marks had gone from 223 to 264.

Mr B. spoke to the board about this and I am delighted to inform you that they have agreed to a full re-mark of both of the papers for the whole of our cohort. There will be no fee and there is no risk of any of the grades going down. The Paper 1 was already ‘out of tolerance’ and so we were entitled to request a re-mark. Whilst the paper 2 was in tolerance, they have agreed to re-mark that too, in the light of our poor experience on Paper 1 and the fact that it was close to being out of tolerance.

This is, of course, very good news although it is thoroughly saddening that something as important as an English GCSE should be subject to such poor quality control.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:29 am 
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Clearly no-one from Wales on this forum (I'm assuming that WJEC is a Welsh examining board as I've never heard of it!!)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:36 am 
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Location: Maidstone
What is happening with English marking? KS2 had the same issues this year and from next year the English writing paper will be marked internally by teachers rather than being marked externally.

Such a shame to be dicing with children's hard work especially at such a critical stage with their GCSEs.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:49 am 
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It must be because the first children to sit English GCSEs are now old enough to be examiners and markers!! :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:32 pm 
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mystery wrote:
Clearly no-one from Wales on this forum (I'm assuming that WJEC is a Welsh examining board as I've never heard of it!!)


WJEC is very widely used in English schools, including many grammar schools. It is a very 'mainstream' exam board and is chosen actively by many schools, especially for English, in the light of the move to a more media-based syllabus from AQA, traditionally the most popular choice.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Ah well thanks for that. Must be us in West Kent that are the odd ones out not using it. It all seems to be AQA and Edexcel round here.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 9:03 pm 
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WJEC is not used much in Bucks either


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:39 am 
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How do schools choose a board? Price?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:20 am 
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Perhaps it's geography then - I teach in Gloucestershire and we use WJEC for English at my school; I also used it at another (very well regarded) school and DD's friend's Gloucester grammar uses it for Science.

Re board choice - our school chose it because they felt it was straightforward and we are a low-achieving school so it kept it simple. DD's school chose AQA because they felt the support materials and training were good. Often you will find a school doing a mixture of boards, in fact that is the norm (we use Edexcel for Maths and OCR for other things). Heads of Department usually keep an eye on what is about and change if they think it will suit the school best, based on materials, teacher expertise and the students themselves. As far as I am aware, the costs are pretty similar.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:16 pm 
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To complete the story my DD's school had already decided that they were moving across to the IGCSE. What I didn't realise was that this is not run by a separate board but one of the boards that also does GCSE; in my DD school's case Edexcel.....

So much complexity for something that should be straightforward but (to mix metaphors!) is an opening of Pandora's Box and growing like Topsy.


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