A GCSE examination taken by thousands of students was deliberately dumbed down to make it easier to pass, examiners have admitted. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance – Britain's biggest exam board – said it lowered grade boundaries in science tests to make papers less demanding than previous years. In an extraordinary admission, officials insisted they had been forced into the move 'under pressure' from the Government's exam regulator. It is believed to be the first time an exam board has officially acknowledged that standards have been purposely lowered.
England's three exam boards – which set their own GCSE and A-level papers – met in early August to discuss grade boundaries. According to the Times Educational Supplement, they failed to come to an agreement over the mark needed to get a C – officially a good pass – in science. One of AQA's rival exam boards awarded C grades in one paper to students getting just 20 per cent of questions correct.