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School loses GCSE marking appeal
8:00am Thursday 28th February 2013 in News
OFFICIALS at St Gregory’s High School have defended a significant drop in GCSE results after its appeal against the marking of English papers failed.
The school, on Cromwell Avenue, Westbrook, joined other schools nationally in appealing against changes to grade boundaries for the English GCSE exams last summer.
That appeal was turned down by the High Court earlier this month.
It means the five A* to C pass rate including English and maths at St Gregory’s dropped from 77 per cent in 2011, to 48 per cent last year.
Noreen Fawkes, acting head teacher, said resits had been successful and were not included in the most recent league tables.
“As parents of St Gregory’s students are already aware we have battled since last summer with the examination board and regulator over the unfairness in the methodology they employed when awarding GCSE grades,” she said.
“We joined with 150 schools and other bodies in taking the matter to court in a legal challenge.
“Many schools were impacted as well as St Gregory’s but I am pleased to say that of our students who were adversely affected last summer and have since retaken their English examination, 90 per cent have now obtained a grade C or above.”
The High Court decision on February 13 ruled that changes to grade boundaries - increased for last summer’s exams - had not been unlawful.
However, it did rule that the modular structure of the English GCSE was ‘unfair’.
Schools had claimed that the mark needed to gain a C grade had been increased to avoid too many pupils getting top grades.
A spokesman for exam body AQA said ‘the right grade boundaries’ had been set.
“While all the exam boards increased grade boundaries and had modular qualifications, attention has focused on AQA because most students take English with us.
“We care deeply about the students that sit our exams and are acutely aware of the distress caused to candidates who were disappointed by their results last summer. “Clearly there are lessons to be learned all round from what happened, and we will work very hard to improve understanding and prevent something like this happening again.”