College students appeal

September 27, 2002

THES reporters examine the A-level crisis and look at options being considered.

Among the papers submitted to the OCR exam board to be re-marked are 40 of 121 A-level psychology students at Barnsley College Sixth Form Centre, writes Tony Tysome.

They were shocked to find they had failed their coursework despite gaining top marks for the rest of the exam. Lecturers are suspicious because the low coursework grades had been applied only to students who were otherwise grade-A material.

One of them scored an unprecedented 100 per cent in one part of the exam and 88 per cent in another, but was awarded just 25 per cent - equating to a U grade - for coursework. Another who was tipped to gain an A overall ended up with a D.

David Kiernan, head of the sixth-form centre, said: "The tutors for this course are OCR A-level examiners, so the QCA's (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority) claim that this is the result of courses being taught by people who don't know what they're doing is clearly wrong."

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