GCSE ‘prejudice’ board say exam went to plan

By Simon Rocker, September 7, 2012

An exam board which came under fire for asking GCSE students to “explain, briefly, why some people are prejudiced against Jews” says that none of them answered it inappropriately.

Education Secretary Michael Gove and the Board of Deputies both criticised the question set by the AQA board in an optional Judaism paper, which was taken by more than 1,000 pupils as part of their religious studies GCSE this summer.

But a spokesman for AQA said: “No candidates answered the question inappropriately, nor was there any evidence to suggest that any candidate had been offended.”

The merits of the question sharply divided Jewish educators: it was condemned by Hasmonean High School, but King David High School Manchester — whose pupils actually sat the paper – did not have a problem with it.

According to AQA, “students knew exactly what was required — [to explain] the causes of prejudice. Relevant answers included fear of the unknown, jealousy, scapegoating, ignorance or economic situations.”

The exam board has not published a breakdown for grades for the individual paper.

But of the 460 students who sat AQA’s modern Hebrew GCSE, more than half — 53 per cent — gained an A* grade, the highest percentage of A*s for any subject.

Last updated: 10:45am, September 7 2012