Health and science exams could be remarked after outcry over swathe of D, E and U grades.

The new T Level exam could be remarked after unexpectedly “damning” results sparked an outcry among students and teachers across England.

NCFE, the awarding body for T Levels – the vocational equivalent of A levels – is “actively exploring the situation” after controversial results threatened to undermine the new qualification.

Unexpectedly large numbers of students received D, E and U grades in their first-year heath and science exams despite performing well in their mocks, and NCFE is now “looking at multiple options” as it considers how to respond.

MPs will also meet next week to discuss possible “formal action” on the matter including demanding for the results to be regraded and for the awarding body to issue an apology.

NCFE said it would not make public this year’s results, insisting they are “interim” grades for a two-year course and are “not necessarily reflective of the students’ final T Level result”.

However, hundreds of students reported receiving “extremely disappointing” grades that they felt did not reflect their level of knowledge.

Many claimed the exams they sat were not a fair reflection of what they were told to study and there have been accusations of a chaotic first year for the health and science T Levels.

Some teachers told i their students were given questions about “golf” and “volcanoes” in their healthcare exams, while a pupil said their course textbook was only made available several weeks before this summer’s exams.

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David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges (AOC), said a number of member colleges had been in contact to raise “concerns that grades for the first year Health and Science T Levels do not reflect students’ ability and hard work”.

Mr Hughes said it “looks as though there are some problems for this first year of the qualification,” adding that he has written to the Department for Education, NCFE and exams regulator Ofqual to “act quickly”.

“Those students need a swift solution and prospective students also need to have confidence that their study program will help them reach their next step,” he told. i.

T Levels are the Government’s new industry-oriented qualifications in England, designed to be the technical equivalent to A Levels.

Students taking the two-year courses are offered a combination of knowledge-based learning and industry places, in a package roughly equivalent to three A-levels.

Courses currently on offer include onsite construction, childcare and digital business services, though options will be widened over the next few years to include subjects such as hairdressing, accounting and agriculture.

This year’s lower-sixth cohort was the first year group to be offered courses in health, healthcare science and science. Around 1600 students across 76 schools and colleges took part in the exams.

Christian Wakeford, Labor MP and chair of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on T Levels, told i that poor results across the country were “really, really damning and should never have happened”.

“I think an apology is the absolute least that anyone should be expecting, but ultimately they should be regrading and removing any mismarks as an absolute minimum,” he said. “It’s not the students’ fault, it’s not the teachers’ fault.

“We should be celebrating all the achievements of T Levels and this leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth… There’s clearly a problem and we just want to see it rectified.”

The Labor MP added that students were already being put off from applying to future T Levels courses, which could jeopardise plans to boost the UK’s healthcare workforce.

“If this can happen with this course, can it happen with others?” he said. “And I say this as someone who’s fully behind T Levels. It’s a bit of a damning indictment when we’re two years into it and trying to ramp up those institutions that are wanting to get more involved.”

A petition shared online earlier this month which demanded grade adjustments and described how students were left feeling “failed” has now received more than 1,200 signatures.

Dudley College of Technology in the West Midlands said it was “really disappointed in the results” after all but one of its students received a D or below in their health and science T Levels.

“With the exception of one C, our students were given Ds and Es, so we were obviously very disappointed,” a spokesperson told. i.

“We’ll do everything we can to work with organizations to try and get this right for these learners, but it was in line with what we’re seeing nationally and we’re very shocked and very disappointed for students who came [into sixth form] with strong grades.

“I think it was the breadth of the questions and the content that was really challenging in the exams. We put some of our most experienced staff onto those qualifications and when they got the results they were really disappointed for their students.”

Dudley College added that it was pushing for the NCFE to “look backwards” and lower grade boundaries rather than demand students resit their exams as they head into their busy final year.

“I guess we have no control over that but ideally you would hope that somewhere along the line they would look at whether the grade boundaries were right,” the spokesperson said.

One father from the south-east of England said almost all of his daughter’s classmates were frantically considering dropping their T Levels altogether after the saga.

“My daughter got the highest mark in her class, which was a C,” said Paul King, whose daughter is training to become a midwife.

“All hell broke loose on results day. My daughter’s now definitely coming off the T Levels, and it looks like the rest of them might jump ship too.

“Term starts next week, so they’ve only got a few days to decide. Their teacher’s devastated. What do you do if you’ve got a classroom of 40 students in tears?”

NCFE told i it was “aware of and [does] understand the stresses and level of concern from college leaders, their teaching staff, parents/carers and most importantly, the impact on learners who haven’t achieved the results they wanted”.

It said it was “working intensively to understand the issues further to determine the possible actions we can take to ameliorate them”.

In a statement, the NCFE admitted that “past papers were not available” to this year’s students given that this year’s exams marked the first formal T Level assessments in healthcare and science.

However, it said it “assigned grade boundaries in line with the difficulty of the assessment” and pointed out that many students received top grades.

“We still believe that T Levels are a unique and challenging gold-standard qualification that will be valued by employers and[highereducationinstitutionsandwillequipyoungpeoplewiththeskillsknowledgeandconfidencetheyneedtosucceedintheirchosenindustry”aspokespersontold[highereducationinstitutionsandwillequipyoungpeoplewiththeskillsknowledgeandconfidencetheyneedtosucceedintheirchosenindustry”aspokespersontoldi.

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