BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: N Ireland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 22 August, 2001, 20:06 GMT 21:06 UK
Exams body called before NI Assembly
exam candidates
The exams body is investigating the mistake
Northern Ireland's exams body, the CCEA, has been summoned before the assembly to explain how it got nearly 1,000 GSCE exams results wrong.

Assembly members on the education committee want to know by their first meeting in September how the wrong grades were given to Home Economics pupils.

On Tuesday, the province's examinations authority, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment revealed that about 1,000 GCSE results were wrong.

The correct results were given to students on Wednesday, with many dropping grades.


I am wondering are they under pressure with all the different boards that are coming through now

Martin Smyth MP

An internal investigation is under way.

Meanwhile, the CCEA has sent letters of apology to all of the candidates affected by the re-issue of grades for GCSE Home Economics exams.

In the letter, the Head of Education Services at the CCEA, Alastair Walker, blamed human error for the blunder which meant that up to 1,000 students received the wrong grades

Mr Walker said the findings of the investigation into the affair would be made public.

However, politicians have called for an independent investigation following the mistake.

'Complete review'

The Ulster Unionist MP, the Reverend Martin Smyth called for a total review of the exams body.

"I am wondering are they under pressure with all the different boards that are coming through now and whether they are able to cope with it or whether there has got to be a complete review," he said.

"Perhaps a change of the body if it is not really up to it in this age."

SDLP MLA Patricia Lewsley, who sits on the Education Committee, said the original grades should not be changed.

She said: "I think that the minister for education should step in now.

"The CCEA should see their way to allowing these children to keep the grades they were given yesterday rather than causing any further devastation."

student
Helen McKinstry: "I do not feel as proud"

Distressed students reacted angrily to the change in grades.

"When I found out that I had got an A, I was overcome with joy," said Helen McKinstry, a student of Forthill Integrated School.

"And now for them to say I have gone from an A to B, a B is still a good mark but I do not feel as proud of that mark as I should feel.

"To be led under these false pretences, I am absolutely devastated."

On Tuesday, the CCEA said the grade boundaries for AS levels instead of GCSE were used by mistake.

Although 140 pupils did go up from grade A to A*, about 800 got bad news.

Investigation

They have actually earned grades lower than those printed on the initial results slips.

CCEA Chief Executive Gavin Boyd said: "I am not going to put up any excuses. It shouldn't have happened and we take full responsibility.

"It hasn't happened in any other subjects."

The CCEA said the investigation would take in 24 members of staff.

Almost 30,000 Northern Ireland students received the results of their GCSE exams on Tuesday.

Once again girls have netted most of the top grades.

The CCEA said the results painted a picture of steady improvement.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
CCEA Chief Executive Gavin Boyd:
"My staff are devastated by this"
BBC NI education correspondent Maggie Taggart:
"The CCEA has been dogged by mistakes"
Exam results in the UK

GCSEs/GNVQs

A/AS-levels

Success stories

Features

Row over new exams

WATCH/LISTEN

TALKING POINT

Go to BBC Student EssentialsExam results?
Essential advice and information for students
See also:

21 Aug 01 | N Ireland
21 Aug 01 | N Ireland
30 Mar 01 | UK Education
26 Jun 01 | UK Education
Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more N Ireland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes