Students left in ‘limbo’ after WJEC review into English marking

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Teachers and pupils affected by the GCSE grading controversy in Wales have been left in “limbo” after a WJEC review found generally papers were marked correctly.

WJEC exam board’s internal review says the marking scheme had been applied consistently and, on the whole, examiners had marked question papers correctly. It found only one case where marking was “slightly inconsistent” and has agreed to remark 318 papers from six centres.

The review was carried out after hundreds of teachers had expressed their shock at the number of pupils who failed to achieve their predicted grades in the January exams which were sat by around 22,500 pupils.

NUT Cymru now wants answers from the Welsh government which is currently conducting a “rapid review”.

Owen Hathway, NUT Wales policy officer, said: “It is positive that the inconsistencies in some of the marking have been identified and that the WJEC has given a commitment to address those particular concerns.

“It is important now that the Welsh government complete their own review into this situation as quickly as possible and publish the details so that the facts about this issue can be examined.

“Teachers and pupils remain almost in a state of limbo and I am sure that everyone involved wants to see the right course of action taken to recognise fairly the dedication of pupils sitting these exams and the quality of their work.”

The WJEC stated it was looking at making candidates’ papers available to their schools and colleges at an earlier date than normally permitted within the enquiries period, “given the exceptional level of concern expressed”. But it also threw focus back on the Welsh government by stating that aspects of the award need a review.

WJEC chief executive Gareth Pierce said: “We have asked the Welsh government for an early opportunity to review key aspects of the award, including its relationship to the ‘comparable outcomes’ approach which they have confirmed will apply for the summer award.

“We understand that this has been a distressing period for teachers and pupils alike. We hope that this review along with the Welsh government’s fact-finding exercise provides reassurance that we are collectively undertaking appropriate action to assess and remedy the situation.

“WJEC remains firmly committed to supporting high standards of education to learners in Wales, delivering qualifications which are rigorous, fair and valued.”

A spokesman for the Welsh government said: “We will consider the information provided to us by WJEC on the findings of their internal review of marking. In broad terms, WJEC consider that their examiners marked question papers correctly and accurately, however this is just one part of the picture and there are other, wider issues that we still need to investigate.”

He continued: “We are doing this through the rapid fact-finding exercise that we are conducting. The review is now well underway and will be rigorous in its approach. 

“It will identify factors underlying the results and put in place appropriate actions to support schools as they prepare learners for the June assessments.

“The learner is our primary concern and we will put in place all of the support needed to ensure that no pupil is disadvantaged through no fault of their own.”

 


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