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The case of the missing X-files

The table of A-Level results that you printed on August 18 is misleading because it omits X grades, which are awarded when candidates do not complete one or all of the papers.

This college obtained figures from one board for 16 A-Levels, which indicated that X grades average 5 per cent and can be as high as 8 per cent in individual subjects.

Schools and colleges are required to include X grades in their publications; the Department for Education and Employment count them in league tables, yet the GCE Boards ignore them in their press releases.

This helps push the reported national pass rates over 80 per cent and allows people to draw conclusions about standards that may not be supported by the evidence.

JULIAN GRAVATT

Senior Registrar Lewisham College Lewisham Way London SE4

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