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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Ousted exam chief attacks re-grading
Sir William Stubbs
Sir William Stubbs attacks political meddling in exams
The education secretary's intervention in this year's A-level results was unnecessary and damaging to the exam system, says the former head of the exams watchdog.

Sir William Stubbs, who lost his job as head of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in the exam dispute, says that any grading problems could have been resolved by the appeals system.


If these candidates had used the normal procedures for appeal, there is no reason to believe they would have been treated differently

Sir William Stubbs

And he said the Education Secretary Estelle Morris should apologise to exam candidates and their families for "unnecessary anxiety caused by her actions".

Sir William claimed that once the dust had settled on the re-grading of results, it would become apparent that the extent of any changes would not be much different from previous years.

"The review initiated in such a dramatic manner by Estelle Morris is unlikely to change the overall grades awarded this year compared to that of previous years."

Reputation

Last year, he says that over 4,000 students had grades increased after appeals.

"The grades this year look likely to be in line with this and could be as low as 1,200. If these candidates had used the normal procedures for appeal, there is no reason to believe they would have been treated differently."

The results of the re-grading process will be known on Tuesday.

But Sir William says that the education secretary's intervention has damaged the reputation of the exam process - while failing to look at the bigger picture.

'Lack of strategy'

"The unnecessary intervention by politicians in the management and details of the exam arrangements is likely to have done widespread damage to the reputation of the new exam.

"There must now be doubts about the extent to which it can recover."

"A secretary of state for education should concentrate her attention on the overall examination strategy. No-one else can do this.

"Sadly, there is no review of the overall exam arrangements in place at the Department for Education."

And he called for the exams watchdog to be taken away from the education secretary and made answerable to Parliament.

Last week the new chief executive of the QCA, Ken Boston, called for a debate on the future of exams - and suggested many more could be marked within schools by teachers.

The School Standards Minister, David Miliband, said the government was "open" to this discussion.

The alleged A-level grades manipulation

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10 Oct 02 | Education
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