The debacle surrounding last week’s A-Level results – and possibly this week’s GCSE results – can only be resolved by going back to the teacher assessments and awarding those Teacher-assessed grades to all students.
Horsham Liberal Democrats were devastated to hear of the debacle surrounding the A-Level results released last Thursday. We are concerned for all the young people who worked hard towards their A-Levels for the first 21 months of their courses, then were knocked off course by the announcement in March that the exams wouldn’t take place. They trusted the Government’s promises that a fair assessment system would be produced so that they were awarded the results they deserved.
We have to forget about ‘grade inflation’, which is obviously a concern in normal times. These are not normal times. Nothing has been ‘normal’ for six months. This year is different and these results have to be treated as exceptional.
The young people whose exams were summarily and precipitously abandoned by the Government in March only get one shot at life. Their lives have already been seriously disrupted by Covid-19, with very limited contact with friends for six months. They have been confined to their homes for much of that time, with the effects that may have had on their physical and mental health.
Many of them were looking forward to getting away from home and going to University. This will be a very different experience from past years too. But at least it will be a positive step forward.
The Government is condemning this year’s A-Level students to yet another period of uncertainty about their results. Yes, they can appeal, but when? All the information about the appeals process has been removed from the Ofqual web-site. They can re-sit their exams – strange term in a year with no exams so far. But re-sitting exams in the autumn means they won’t get to University this year. Many can’t afford to sit at home for that time and Government benefits cease at 18 for many families.
The Government must do the decent thing and accept the Teachers’ assessments now, as the Scottish did after its week of dithering.
Once that’s been done, further analysis can be done on the Ofqual algorithm and how it can be made fairer to State Schools if it ever needs to be used again.
And the Secretary of State for Education can – and should – consider his position.