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Once again Northern Ireland’s exam body has failed to deliver on the  Education (NI) Order 1998 awarding body standards and will slickly seek to reassure the public by conducting  an investigation on itself.  CCEA’s remit is to “conduct and moderate examinations and assessments, ensuring that standards are recognised as equivalent to standards of examinations and assessments conducted by other bodies or authorities exercising similar functions in the United Kingdom”.

One again CCEA failed to deliver. CCEA only became aware of the wrong results issue after contact from 2 centres through the Enquiry About Results process. When CCEA staff investigated these enquiries they discovered that incorrect grades were awarded to 151 students. So much for standards.

Parents and pupils may ask themselves how ” a unique educational body” can claim that the qualifications and examinations offered by CCEA, the unnecessary and expensive awarding body in Northern Ireland are of an appropriate quality and standard when on the one hand they fail to spot their own errors and then immediately reassure the same parents and pupils that their revised efforts are perfect. Self assessment means that the assessor is always in control. CCEA is an expensive luxury costing the taxpayer close to £30 million per year. 

It will be recalled that CCEA was mired in another recent controversy over the inaccurate results given to schools over their use of the Incas Pupil Profile. Incas was Gavin Boyd’s pet project when he was last chief executive of CCEA before leaving to become ESA chief execuive (designate). The Education Minister also had to issue an apology for that expensive failure of Gavin Boyd’s effort to replace objective measurement of attainment in numeracy and literacy with a “diagnostic” tool.

CCEA’s interim chief executive Gavin Boyd said: “Staff at CCEA are very disappointed by this failure and we apologise unreservedly for any distress this has caused to students, their families and teachers. He neglected to mention that it is teachers who mark the exam papers.

“On this occasion CCEA’s quality assurance procedures did not ensure that the correct grade was issued for the candidates. This is unacceptable and it falls far beneath the standards we set ourselves as an organisation.”

“A formal internal investigation is under way to discover how the incorrect marks were awarded on this occasion.”

As opposed to the informal manner in which 151 pupils were given wrong results.

Mr Boyd is clearly the man to lead the Education and Skills Authority.