Re-marking of GCSE Grades?

The secretary of State for Education Michael Gove, and his Welsh counter part Leighton Andrews clashed recently when the Welsh minister ordered a remark of the English GCSE papers by the exam board WJEC, an exam which students in both England and Wales completed. This has understandably created huge amounts of tension amongst pupils, parents and teachers throughout England who are not having their grades raised like the pupils in Wales. Pupils are left feeling that they have been cheated out of a grade they worked hard to achieve, and which could make a difference to their further education.


The Welsh Minister Leighton Andrews has claimed he simply wanted to correct something that he felt was unjust. However in a direct contrast Gove has spoken out against the Welsh Minister claiming he was “irresponsible and mistaken”. He told MP’s that to raise pupils grades would affect the value that students give to their qualifications. Gove stated in an interview that he has plans to change the system of education, and that the whole situation of re-marking the English GCSE papers has only made him even more determined to reform the exams system in particular. He wishes to move away from measuring schools in league tables with grades A*-C as he fears this encourages teachers to focus on students that are border line C/D sometimes at the expense of the others.


Morally everyone is plainly aware that the situation is unfair, as more than half the students who completed the exam took it in England and are now being disadvantaged. A general opinion of how Gove has handled the situation is by “putting his head in the sand” and is seemingly unable to compromise on the situation. Since the Welsh minister has already ordered and received a remark for pupils in Wales, shouldn’t it now be done for students in England regardless? Some pupils are now not getting the same advantages as others at a very important time in their lives when they decide what they want to do with their future, and the difference between a grade C and a grade D is substantial to pupils who are thinking of studying in further education and doing their A-Levels.


Between a third and a quarter of all secondary schools are now complaining about how unjust the situation is for the pupils who have worked so hard to achieve their results. Surely the main focus should be on helping to give the students the best chance possible so they can then continue with further study or training in whatever they choose? It seems to be very unfair that so many pupils are being disadvantaged because of arguments between politicians and exam boards. If the grades were raised for pupils in England as well as Wales more pupils would have the opportunity to continue on in education if they wished to and the marking will have been overall consistent, giving pupils the grade they worked hard to achieve.


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