GCSE marking row branded a 'disgrace' by Carmarthen head teacher
A HEAD teacher has described the GCSE grades controversy as "an injustice and a disgrace".
Speaking as 62 pupils across the county saw their English language papers regraded, Peter Spencer, head at QE High School, said the row had been unfair on students.
The regrade followed an instruction from Education Minister Leighton Andrews for the WJEC examining board to remark papers.
The Welsh Government, as regulator of examinations in Wales, issued the direction last week after a thorough and detailed review found there were significant problems with the methodology used to award grades.
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Despite many students receiving new, improved grades, Carmarthenshire nevertheless saw the percentage of A* to C grades drop by seven per cent, a fall described by Mr Spencer as "unprecedented", as QE High saw a 21 per cent drop in the grades achieved.
County figures released by Carmarthenshire Council reveal that 61 per cent gained A* to C this year, compared to 68 per cent in 2011.
Mr Spencer said: "It has been a tough time for the pupils and a disgrace, really, what they had to go through.
"As a school we had approximately 15 per cent of pupils within 10 per cent of the C grade boundary, so while this measure of regrading had helped redress some of the injustice, I am not sure it has gone far enough."
He added: "It does appear that the grade boundary has been shifted by two per cent.
"This has been good news for a number of students who are understandably very pleased, but I am sure disappointing for a large number whose D grade did not increase."
Head teacher at Carmarthen's Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Dorian Williams, said the regrading process had seen pupils gain the results they deserved after two years' hard work and revision.
He also hit out at an absence of any warning or discussions with schools about changing the grading boundaries ahead of the summer exams.
He said: "Justice at last. Wales has recognised and shown respect for the efforts of all GCSE pupils.
"It was the wrong decision to change the margins of specific grades at GCSE level before the end of a two-year English Language course.
"Simply put, there was no consultation with schools."
The school saw nine pupils moved from D to C, five pupils moved from C to B, one pupil moved from B to A, and one pupil moved from A to A*.
At Dyffryn Taf school in Whitland, exams officer Tim Price questioned how the regrading process worked.
He said: "The mathematical formula used on changing the boundaries of the marks don't seem to make sense.
"We had pupils going up several points and others being raised only by a few points.
"There didn't seem to be any correlation as to how it worked."
He said six pupils increased from D to C, two went from C to B and two from E to D.
Carmarthenshire Council's Head of Governance and Inclusion, Gareth Morgans, said: "Schools provided examples of variance in outcomes when comparing the June assessments with assessments undertaken in January.
"The local authority fully supports the Education Minister's view that a regrading was the correct course of action in order that our young people are suitably rewarded for all their hard work."
The Journal had not received a response from the WJEC at the time of going to press.