A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

0 23

Some 35.6% of marks were adjusted down by one grade, 3.3% were brought down by two, and 0.2% came down by three.

Almost 40% of A-level results have been downgraded in England after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus.

Some 35.6% of marks were adjusted down by one grade, 3.3% were brought down by two, and 0.2% came down by three.

Overall, an estimated 280,000 entries have been affected by the process.


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

This is because the Joint Council for Qualifications “standardised” schools’ predictions based on their past performance to try and maintain consistency in a year thrown into chaos by the pandemic.

Teachers were told to submit the grades they thought each student would have received if they had sat the papers, alongside a rank order of students, after exams were cancelled due to COVID-19.


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

Exams watchdog Ofqual says standards across the country have been maintained, with top A* and A grades rising by 2.4% to an all-time high.

The number of students accepted on to degree courses has also risen by 2.9% compared with last year.


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

The government has vowed not to scrap moderated results in England, like political leaders in Scotland were forced to do after criticism students from deprived backgrounds were hit harder by the algorithm.

Ofqual claimed there was no evidence of bias against pupils based on their socioeconomic status and that moderating was needed given “generous” initial assessments that predicted “implausibly” high grades in some schools.

They added they were given “ministerial direction that, as far as possible, overall results should be similar to previous years”.


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

But the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies said the system had given a “boost for private schools” because those who’s class sizes are smaller than 15 did not have the teachers’ predictions moderated.

Former Labour schools secretary Ed Balls tweeted: “How could education Ministers and senior officials possibly not have spotted that giving greater weight to teacher assessment in smaller cohort sixth forms would bias results towards private schools and against large sixth form colleges? It’s beyond belief.”


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

Follow live reaction: 'Disappointed doesn't even cover it'

There are three routes of appeal:

Students can use their mock exam results to argue they should have got higher grades, a school can say it is under new leadership meaning it should not be judged on old performance, and some pupils can press ahead and do the actual exams in the autumn.


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

Boris Johnson has defended the system, saying it is “robust” and “dependable” for employers.

Asked if he has confidence in the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, the prime minister said: “Of course I do, but I think this is a robust system and it’s one that is dependable for employers.”

He added more kids from disadvantaged backgrounds will go to university “than every before… as a result of the grades they’ve got today”.


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

There were many reports of disappointment from schools: One student predicted three As but handed a B, C and E told Sky News “the government have completely ruined a lot of kids’ futures” and a second who had her marks downgraded said it might make her miss out on a bursary.

Geoff Barton, head of the Association of School and College Leaders, said he had heard “heartbreaking feedback” from teachers about “grades being pulled down in a way that they feel to be utterly unfair and unfathomable”.


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, said “something has obviously gone horribly wrong” and thousands of students have had their future prospects “dashed”.

He added: “The government needs to rethink this, they shouldn’t rule anything out, including the approach that was forced on the Scottish government.”


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

Didn't get the grades you wanted? This is what to do next

The children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield also said “inequalities already existing in the education system will be deepened”.

She warned “more affluent schools with more resources are more likely to appeal” so the process should be “as easy as possible” to ensure “disadvantaged schools and students are not left out”.

And the Equality and Human Rights Commission has cautioned Ofqal it is considering “all our powers” and that the “equality impacts” of this year’s results should have been taken into account.

A petition has been launched by the National Union of Students condemning the government for choosing to “reproduce and bake in educational inequality through the use of ridiculous algorithms”. It calls for all students to be given their teacher’s predicted grades and the exam and grading system to be overhauled.


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

These students were predicted to get As. Then their grades came in

In Wales, where students take AS-levels which count towards their final A-level, pupils have been promised they will not get a lower final result than their grade last summer.

Meanwhile the Scottish Conservatives deleted a two-day old tweet that accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of having “presided over one of the biggest scandals in the history of devolution, which shattered the life chances of thousands of Scottish pupils” – before reposting it after social media users noticed.


                              A-level results: 280,000 entries downgraded in England after coronavirus stops exams

Analysis: The system was never going to be perfect
By Laura Bundock, news correspondent

This is no ordinary results day.

An exceptional situation, involving difficult and delicate decisions ever since exams were cancelled back on 18 March.

We now know 35% of results have been downgraded by one grade. Some results by more than one grade.

Ofqual insists its analysis of grading shows no negative bias on socioeconomic background, gender or ethnicity.

A general system assessing thousands of individual pupils was never going to be perfect.

But already unions say they’ve received “heart-breaking” feedback of schools feeling unfairly and unfathomable downgraded.

And for students caught in the middle, they must hope universities and colleges follow through on their promise to be flexible with admissions.

Are you a student getting your results today? Get in touch with Sky News:

:: WhatsApp – 07583 000853
:: Email – news@sky.com
:: ‘Your Report’ on Sky News apps

Source

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.