Computer science teacher explains why algorithm could never work for A-level results

14 August 2020, 13:49 | Updated: 14 August 2020, 13:54

Computer Science teacher tells James O'Brien why algorithms can't work for A-level results

By Kate Buck

A Computer Science A-level teacher has told James O'Brien how the algorithm used to grade this years sixth-formers can't work.

Thousands of students were left gutted on Thursday after their A-levels were downgraded by a government algorithm, which had been set up to determine grades after exams were cancelled due to Covid-19.

It has meant nearly two in five students have seen their results adjusted down.

Joshua says 23 of his 30 students this year were downgraded, despite him spending three weeks carefully considering what his students deserved in the absence of exams.

"I spend all of my time with A-level students talk about algorithms and what makes a good algorithm," he said.

"There are two concepts in-particular which come up when you look at things, being pre-condition and actual testing.

James O'Brien spoke to a teacher about the algorithm
James O'Brien spoke to a teacher about the algorithm. Picture: PA/LBC

"I just don't see how either of those have been adequately met.

"I see one pre-condition as we've been able to go through them, which are teachers predicted grades as they have stated them, which are not accurate and everybody has inflated.

"Certainly within our anecdotal stuff that we've heard today, that does not seem like an accurate statement.

"And so if you're running from an invalid pre-condition you cannot write a correct algorithm."

Listen to the remarkable call above.