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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
How 68% is worth only a D grade
Students are still waiting for re-grades
Students presenting A-level coursework in German this year could have needed 68% even to get a grade D.

And they could have scored 61% and still have failed.

This is suggested by A-level grading documents e-mailed to BBC News Online by an A-level candidate, who says she "pestered" the OCR exam board for an explanation for her low grades.

How marks in German were graded
A: 53 out of 60 (88%)
B: 49 out of 60 (82%)
C: 45 out of 60 (75%)
D: 41 out of 60 (68%)
E: 37 out of 60 (62%)
U: less than 37 out of 60 (less than 62%)

And it could explain how coursework predicted by teachers to get top grades received such disappointing results.

The ongoing inquiry into this year's A-level results was sparked by schools' complaints that pupils were receiving much lower grades than expected.

In particular, e-mails sent to BBC News Online highlighted that there had been problems with coursework grades.

And the complex grading scheme sent by the A-level candidate shows how high coursework scores could be converted into low grades.

According to this grading scheme, candidates would need 62% to scrape a pass at grade E.

'Neither deny or confirm'

The OCR exam board, which also has the grading document, says it will not deny or confirm the authenticity of the figures.

Mike Tomlinson
Mike Tomlinson's report suggests that grade boundaries were set too high

The candidate sent the information to BBC News Online after being disappointed that her 40 out of 60 mark (67%) was only graded as an E.

With only another five marks, she would have reached 75%, which would be a grade C.

In the report of the independent inquiry into A-level grades, it was claimed that grade boundaries had been shifted by as much as 13 marks.

In the case of this German A-level coursework, 13 marks would represent the difference between an A and E grade.

This might cast light on how students who had scored A grades in other course units, could find themselves with an E or U grade in coursework.

Grade fixing

Candidates getting AAU in their A-level units had been highlighted by the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference when it first made the allegations of grade fixing.

OCR - which is at the centre of allegations of lowering grades - said it would not comment on these grading figures until the inquiry, headed by Mike Tomlinson, is fully completed.

The A-level candidate who sent the information is now studying at Warwick University.

"However my school and all my class mates believe that our coursework marks are wrong for German," she writes.

The student said it was clear that "something unfair occurred in setting these boundaries".

The alleged A-level grades manipulation

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