280,000 A-Level students' grades downgraded by exam boards 1 month ago

280,000 A-Level students' grades downgraded by exam boards

Nearly 40 per cent of students in England had grades downgraded

Approximately 280,000 A-Level students had their grades downgraded after exams were cancelled earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to data from Ofqual, 39.1 per cent of students in England were given lower grades than expected, while the proportion of students given an A or A* grade rose to 27.1 per cent.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said that boosting grades for this year's A-Level students would "harm them for life", presumably speaking from experience of being promoted to a job beyond his level of competence.

With no exams taking place, teachers were asked to submit the grade they predicted students would attain had they sat the exam, alongside a ranked order of students predicted scores. The exam boards then moderated these grades to ensure they weren't unrealistically higher or lower than previous years.

Students in England can use their mock grades as the basis of an appeal if they are not happy with the grades they have been given by the algorithm.

Universities are also expected to soften admission rules following the news this morning.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "While there has been an overall increase in top grades, we are very concerned that this disguises a great deal of volatility among the results at school and student level.

"We have received heartbreaking feedback from school leaders about grades being pulled down in a way that they feel to be utterly unfair and unfathomable. They are extremely concerned about the detrimental impact on their students."

He added: "We are now calling on the government and the exam regulator Ofqual to review the situation as a matter of urgency, and we would warn them against simply digging in their heels, and insisting all is well."

But Gavin Williamson says the government will be making no such changes.

"We're not going to be changing this system again,' he told Times Radio.

"We believe that we've put in place - in terms of the triple lock, in terms of the actions we've taken - a system that is able to put its arm round those youngsters where there has been a grade that has been unfair on them and is able to put that right."