GCSE English exam regrade improves 2,300 pupils' results

More than 2,300 pupils have received better GCSE English Language results after a regrading of exam papers.

The WJEC examining board worked over the weekend after Education Minister Leighton Andrews said grade boundaries had been set in a way that was unfair to candidates in Wales.

As a result, 1,202 students will have this summer's grades increased from a D to a C and 598 from a C to a B grade.

Lowering boundaries also meant some changes at other grades.

This resulted in an overall figure of 2,386 receiving raised grades.

'Acceptable outcome'

Mr Andrews said: "The decision to direct the WJEC to regrade was about fairness and ensuring that Welsh students got the grades they deserved for the work they put into their examination.

"We are grateful to those examiners and other staff of the WJEC who worked tirelessly to ensure that candidates received their revised grades on time.

"This announcement was the only acceptable outcome for learners affected by a questionable grading methodology.

"Candidates can now rest assured that the process used to determine their final grades was fair and just."

Cardiff-based examining board WJEC issued the headline results on Tuesday, and it is believed students will get them on Wednesday morning.

Some 34,000 students in Wales took the paper in the summer.

The regrade decision began a row between the Welsh and UK governments.

The gulf has grown with UK government plans to reform GCSEs in England.

The proportion of pupils who received a grade C for English language this summer was down 3.9% on last year.

Mr Andrews' regrade decision began a row between the Welsh and UK governments.

The results of 84,000 English students who took the same paper will not be regraded, meaning a C in Wales could be equivalent to a D in England.

The gulf has grown with UK government plans to reform GCSEs in England.

'Embrace reforms'

On Monday, Westminster Education Secretary Michael Gove revealed that GCSEs in core subjects in England will be replaced by a qualification called the English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC).

A single end-of-course exam and one exam board for core subjects will be introduced.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionLeighton Andrews interviewed by BBC Radio Wales on the regrading

Mr Gove challenged Mr Andrews to "embrace the progressive reforms that this coalition government has put forward".

Mr Andrews has said that he will make his own decision on GCSEs in Wales in November.

He described Mr Gove's plans as "a backward step", saying there was still support within Wales for GCSEs.

The Welsh government is the exam regulator in Wales, while in England the job is done by Ofqual, which has said it does not see the need for a regrade.

Dr Philip Dixon, director of education union ATL, said: "The minister is to be commended for such bold and decisive action.

"The few embittered voices who will try to deny these youngsters their success will clearly be seen for the politically motivated killjoys they are.

"This entire fiasco shows why we in Wales are thinking long and hard about the best qualifications system for our young people."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites