Thousands of A-level and GCSE grades to increase after Government U-turn

Tens of thousands of A-level and GCSE students in England are set to see their grades increase after the Government was forced into a U-turn over its controversial algorithm system.

Monday, 17th August 2020, 4:49 pm

Grades will now be based on teachers’ assessments of students rather than the algorithm developed by Ofqual, which has drawd criticism and protests from students and teachers and provoked a backlash from Tory MPs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Education Secratary Gavin Williamson previously stood by the system they claimed was ‘robust’, but which saw 40 per cent of grades across the country reduced from what teachers predicted.

Mr Williamson apologised for the Government’s handling of the grading process – whcih stemmed from the cancellation of exams due to coronavirus –following crisis talks with the Prime Minister this morning.

The announcement was made today by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

The changes will apply to A-level and GCSE grades, which are due to be announced tomorrow (Tuesday August 18).

Students whose grades were increased from their predictions by the algorithm are allowed to keep thie higher grade, while many whose grades were reduced will see them increased based on teachers’ predictions.

Mr Williamson told the Press Association: “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.”

The devolved powers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have all also announced that grades would be based on teacher predictions.

The announcement was made in Scotland last week, foreshadowing the upset that was to follow in England soon after.

However, at the time Mr Johnson said that the system was ‘dependable’ and Mr Williamson said there would be no U-turn in England.