Monday 17 August 2020 4:15 pm

A-levels: pupils in England to receive predicted grades after major U-turn

Pupils in England will receive teacher predicted grades for their A-level results after a major government U-turn.

Teacher predicted grades will also be used for the upcoming GCSE results.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for young people who were unable to take their exams.

“We worked with Ofqual to construct the fairest possible model, but it is clear that the process of allocating grades has resulted in more significant inconsistencies than can be resolved through an appeals process.

“We now believe it is better to offer young people and parents certainty by moving to teacher assessed grades for both A and AS level and GCSE results.

“I am sorry for the distress this has caused young people and their parents but hope this announcement will now provide the certainty and reassurance they deserve.”

Ofqual chair Roger Taylor said: “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.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer tweeted: “The Tories’ handling of this situation has been a complete fiasco.

“Incompetence has become this government’s watchword, whether that is on schools, testing or care homes.

“Boris Johnson’s failure to lead is holding Britain back.”

The decision marks a major U-turn for the government and follows an outcry from pupils, parents, teachers and MPs after thousands of students received results downgrades.

The algorithm used to moderate A-level results by regulator Ofqual based on predicted grades and a school’s previous exam history has led to numerous examples of students receiving steep grade downgrades that have often meant missing out on university offers.

Almost 40 per cent of A-level grades awarded were lower than predicted following moderation.

Additionally, the algorithm used has been accused of favoring smaller institutions with strong exams results histories, arguably favouring privately educated students.

The Welsh government said earlier today that it would return to predicted grades for A-level students.