Students' A-level grades to be reverted to teacher predictions

Thousands of students will have their A-level grades reverted to teacher predictions, after concerns were raised over moderated grades.

Monday, 17th August 2020, 4:28 pm
Updated Monday, 17th August 2020, 4:45 pm

The announcement comes after several days of confusion surrounding results, with reports that as many as 40 per cent of grades predicted by teachers had then been moderated down.

In a visit to Wakefield last week, Labour leader Keir Starmer described the process as a "fiasco".

But the government has now confirmed that students will be awarded either the highest possible grade from their teacher estimates or moderated results.

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Roger Taylor, Chair of Ofqual, said he hoped the change would "remove as much stress and uncertainty for young people as possible."

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, said it would need to be accompanied by "urgent work" with universities and apprenticeship providers to support those who may have lost places on courses as a result of the lowered grades.

The full Ofqual statement reads: "We understand this has been a distressing time for students, who were awarded exam results last week for exams they never took. The pandemic has created circumstances no one could have ever imagined or wished for.

"We want to now take steps to remove as much stress and uncertainty for young people as possible - and to free up heads and teachers to work towards the important task of getting all schools open in two weeks.

Thousands of students will have their A-level grades reverted to teacher predictions, after concerns were raised over moderated grades.

"After reflection, we have decided that the best way to do this is to award grades on the basis of what teachers submitted. The switch to centre assessment grades will apply to both AS and A levels and to the GCSE results which students will receive later this week.

"There was no easy solution to the problem of awarding exam results when no exams have taken place. Ofqual was asked by the Secretary of State to develop a system for awarding calculated grades, which maintained standards and ensured that grades were awarded broadly in line with previous years.

"Our goal has always been to protect the trust that the public rightly has in educational qualifications.

"But we recognise that while the approach we adopted attempted to achieve these goals we also appreciate that it has also caused real anguish and damaged public confidence. Expecting schools to submit appeals where grades were incorrect placed a burden on teachers when they need to be preparing for the new term and has created uncertainty and anxiety for students.

"For all of that, we are extremely sorry.

"We have therefore decided that students be awarded their centre assessment for this summer - that is, the grade their school or college estimated was the grade they would most likely have achieved in their exam - or the moderated grade, whichever is higher.

"The path forward we now plan to implement will provide urgent clarity. We are already working with the Department for Education, universities and everyone else affected by this issue."