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Monday, 7 October, 2002, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
A-level row: Will you trust the exam re-grades?
At least 50,000 students are still in limbo waiting to find out whether their papers will be re-graded following the exam results fiasco.

Exam grades are to be reviewed following an inquiry into allegations that A-level results had been marked down.

The total number of papers to reviewed tops 300,000 and 26 subjects were affected, the former chief schools inspector Mike Tomlinson has confirmed.

The students will have to wait until 15 October to hear whether their results have been changed.

Has your confidence in the reliability of exams been permanently shaken? What can the government do to restore long-term confidence in taking these exams?

This Talking Point is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Jennings has it about right when he says "Keep governments out of education". This government has constantly meddled with initiatives and new policies sent to schools. In the last six months before my retirement, I received a pile of 'important' documentation from the DFEE six inches thick! What makes these people think they know better than the people who have worked a lifetime in the profession? Watching the 'esteemed' Miss Morris in action, one has to ask what qualifies the government to make any contribution to education policy?
Tony Volpe, UK


I feel truly sorry for those affected

Mike, UK
Most of the problems seem to relate to "coursework", and not only to the A but AS-levels as well, and in that respect the government seems to have entirely ignored the problems being stored up for next year. In very simple terms, coursework assessments are not trusted by students, or employers - I know I am one. They are subjective and too easily manipulated by favouritism. I feel truly sorry for those affected but fear that the government will make this matter much worse by the "two wrongs" approach.
Mike, UK

Who trusts the grades anyway? I took my GCE (O and A-levels) in the 60s, I went to a grammar school and was the only one in the sixth form to get 3 As. Recently I have been helping my son with Physics A-level. The current syllabus is more descriptive and definitely less rigorous. I am sure that a lot of the A-level material was covered in greater depth at O-level in my day.
Dennis, UK

I've recently got a place in a university of my choice but due to the poor A-level results that were allocated following my exams, I had to overtake a foundation course. This means that I will have to study 5 years rather than the usual 4 on my course. I feel that the exam boards have indecently handled the marking of extremely valued papers which students have worked very hard for.
Janak, England - Leicester

As someone who feels justified in getting 4As before these re-grades, I should like to know how the Government intends to prevent students with higher grades now filling university places up next year which should be available for students like myself, who intended to apply anyway before this marking scam. Is it fair we should be disadvantaged simply to allow Estelle Morris and co to keep their jobs?
Ed, UK

I've just done my AS levels and so many of the people in my year have problems with their results - such as getting 2 As and then suddenly an E or U in their 3rd paper - yet none of the subjects are under review. The whole thing is a mess and it feels like everybody's hard work is no longer recognised!
Steph, UK


Whenever there is any change, these sorts of mistakes occur

Caroline, Wiltshire, UK
I was also in a "guinea pig" year. We were the first year that the GCSE system ran for the whole period of our 14-16 studies. I remember that the school had to apologise to all the RE students, because they had taught the wrong syllabus, and the exams content was completely different! Whenever there is any change, these sorts of mistakes occur. I hope that they can be ironed out quickly, so that next year's students don't have the same uncertainty.
Caroline, Wiltshire, UK

Is this really news that A level students didn't get the grade they expected? This has gone on for years and years and it's nothing new that "our little Robbie can't go to Oxford because he got a D". I mean really. Stop whining and get on with it.
Colin Walker, UK

Can exam results ever be trusted? They have always been subject to statistical "adjustments", and are mostly marked by teachers who claim to be already over-worked. I know of at least one story of a teacher marking an examination script with very low marks, which her colleague knew must have been mistake because of the ability of the candidate, and sure enough it was found that the marker had completely failed to mark one whole page of script!
Steve, UK

Am I the only person who can see the modules that require re-marking being over-marked this time? It wouldn't surprise me one bit.
Matthew Bloomer, England

I haven't trusted A-Level grades for about 10 years. As a middle manager with responsibilities for recruitment the interviewees that I have seen with 3 or 4 A's and B's would have struggled to get 4 D's and E's 10 years ago. In my opinion, the problem stems back to when 'O' Levels were replaced by GCSEs, and standards have dropped since then.
Keith L, UK

You should just accept the grades you have got and move on. If you are determined to achieve in life then nothing will stop you. Otherwise just accept that you are just not as smart as you thought you were.
Jim, England


Sign up for a GNVQ instead

Michael Curtis, UK
My media studies grade D is going to be remarked. If my grade was unfairly marked, it could well cost me a dream job in broadcasting, and my low grade I'm pretty sure cost me at least a chance at an interview. Most of the worry is on those missing out on university; what about those of us who were relying on grades for job placements? Advice to GCSE students: sign up for a GNVQ instead.
Michael Curtis, UK

Although I felt slightly dubious about certain results I don't feel that errors made by private exam boards should be used to criticise the government or any political party.
Michael, UK


Students got marked down to appease older voters

Ben Drake, York, UK
One good thing politicians of all parties could do is stop trying to run down teachers and students, and start recognising their hard work and achievements. Today's young people have to work and study hard, harder than most of us did if we're honest. Yet they've faced months of small-minded, self-satisfied sniping from people who should know better. Now we find some students even got marked down, apparently to appease older voters! Enough is enough. Let's stop attacking young people and start treating them with a bit of respect.
Ben Drake, York, UK

The government can scrap the exams and just concentrate on coursework and teacher assessments.
Kirsty, UK

Can we actually expect the remarking will actually resolve this whole fiasco? The people who have played with the futures of so many people, including mine, should ultimately be tried in the court of law for their disgraceful actions.
Dhaval Shah, United Kingdom


We are constantly referred to as the guinea pig year

Barry, UK
My year group have been constantly messed around by this goverment, we are constantly referred to as the guinea pig year. We were the first to face the changes in the GCSEs, first to try out the Key Skills which universities didn't even care about, first for AS levels and for all our hard work we get messed around at the end of the road with our A-levels. Wonder how many of my fellow students will be voting Labour now?
Barry, UK

Keep governments out of education.
Jennings, UK

My daughter did an NVQ in health and social care last year. She was predicted to achieve a distinction. We were surprised and upset when she was ungraded completely! I wonder if this fiasco goes deeper than A-levels?
Matt Crawley, England

After getting lower than expected grades in my AS exams sat mostly with the OCR exam board, I am still not reassured by the comments of Estelle Morris. It concerns me that universities are going to be inundated next year, what is a girl to do? It makes me feel like going on a VERY LONG HOLIDAY.
Laura, UK

The alleged A-level grades manipulation

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