This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for young people who have been unable to take their exams due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In March, the government had no option but to close schools as part of our efforts to protect the NHS and save lives however, it is completely understandable that every young person waiting for their results wants to know they have been treated fairly, and that they won’t be disadvantaged through any fault of their own.
As many of you will know, the original A-level grades awarded were based on assessments provided by schools, but were then moderated by the examination boards to try to ensure that the same standards applied to all students, and to avoid grade inflation. However, it is seen by many - and I share this view - that using an algorithm to make this assessment was far too general and didn’t take into account various conditions.
I was deeply concerned by the correspondence I was receiving from students who were concerned their predicted A level grades downgraded by Ofqual. I flagged these concerns to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson and asked that this policy be reviewed ASAP.
I was pleased to hear that subsequently, the Government and Ofqual have jointly agreed to revert to centre assessment grades, which are the grades which schools and colleges assessed students were most likely to have achieved, had exams gone ahead. This was deemed to be the fairest approach to avoid some students receiving grades that did not reflect their prior performance.
A statement from Roger Taylor, Chair of Ofqual, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-from-roger-taylor-chair-ofqual
BTEC results delayed
Ofqual are also working to ensure that BTec students can get their results as soon as possible, following a decision by the exam board Pearson to delay results to revise its arrangements to ensure that students’ results are in line with those studying GCSEs and A Levels.
The full statement from Pearson (available here) goes into detail about the reasons behind this, the key takeaway is that although no school or college will be issuing BTEC Level 1 or Level results on results day, students should be reassured that no grades will go down, whilst there is the potential for them to go up.
Exam boards are working to confirm these results as soon as possible.
As it stands the appeals process is the same as for any other year. An update on the appeals process can be found here. I would encourage students to talk with their college about support for the appeals process, and also to their preferred destination education provider to seek to secure any placement current in play.
The Education Secretary has apologised for the distress this unprecedented situation has caused for young people and their parents, and we hope that all results will provide the certainty and reassurance students deserve.
The Government recognises the move to centre assessment grades will have implications for universities and students, and therefore intends to remove student number controls. The move will help to prioritise students’ interests and ensure that there are no barriers to students being able to progress.
The Government is working closely with the sector to create additional capacity and ensure they are as flexible as possible, and are setting a clear expectation that they honour all offers made and met. The Universities Minister Michelle Donelan will lead a new taskforce, working with sector groups, to ensure students can progress to the next stage of their education.
Students who previously missed their offer and will now meet it on the basis of their centre assessment grade should get in contact with the university. Those who have accepted an offer will be able to release themselves if they have another offer reinstated.
If you do have any issues please get in touch and a member of the team will be happy to help in any way that we can.