Pupils find out GCSE English retake results

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Exam room
Image caption,
A legal ruling on the GCSE row is expected in January

Nearly 50,000 pupils who retook their English GCSEs after a row about grades this summer are getting their results.

Just over a third have been awarded at least a C grade, with the remainder given a D or lower.

It is thought a similar proportion got a higher grade than they did in the summer.

More than 31,000 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland retook English language, while nearly 16,800 pupils retook English.

Schools, pupils, councils and head teachers have mounted a legal challenge over the awarding of grades this summer.

There was an outcry over the original GCSE English results, with head teachers and schools saying 50,000 teenagers received worse results than they should have done and that many failed to get the C grades they were expecting.

Overall, the percentage of pupils who achieved at least a grade C in English GCSE dropped from 65.4% in 2011 to 63.9% in provisional figures published this summer. There was also a drop in the percentage of pupils awarded an A or an A*.

This year's results prompted a big increase in appeals - with 276,000 challenges against marking, which resulted in more than 45,000 grades being changed at GCSE and A-level.

An alliance of heads, schools and pupils have brought a legal challenge over the grading, claiming grade boundaries were unfairly adjusted.

A final judgement in the case is expected in January.

The exams watchdog Ofqual has defended the way grades were awarded in the summer, insisting it followed correct procedures to maintain standards.

'Improved results'

The results of the retakes were released by the Joint Council for Qualifications.

They show just over a third of candidates (about 17,650) were awarded a C grade or higher.

Only a small proportion were given A grades.

Getting a C for English is often crucial for students looking to carry on their studies or find jobs.

The AQA exam board, which has the largest number of candidates for GCSE English, told BBC News that of the candidates who retook its exams, 70% got the same grades as they had in the summer, while 30% got higher grades. It says this is in line with what it would expect from resits.

Head teachers' leaders say the retake has led to higher results for many.

Brian Lightman, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "Thousands of young people and their parents will be celebrating improved results this morning.

"However to suggest that so many thousands of students have improved so dramatically in a period of weeks is further proof that their teachers' original assessments were correct and that the summer results were not a true reflection of their achievement."

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