AS-levels acted as 'safety net' for results, Welsh education secretary says

13 August 2020, 16:08

Welsh Education Secretary says AS-Levels provided "safety net" for students

The Welsh education secretary has said AS-Levels provided a "safety net" for students in Wales, after English students saw a drop in grades.

Results in England were based on teachers' assessments, with those predictions being put through an algorithm to ensure grades are put at the school's normal level.

In Wales, they still have AS level results to use from last year, something that Michael Gove scrapped during his time as Education Secretary two years ago.

Wale's Education Minister Kirsty Williams told LBC's Andrew Castle the fact Wales kept AS-Levels and used those grades as a benchmark meant there was "confidence" in the validity of today's results.

She said: "Because we have maintained a system whereby AS-levels forms a significant proportion of a final A-level grade, we were able to us that in the moderation process and able to put in a safety net for students so they could not drop below their previous AS Level grade.

Wales' Education Minister Kirsty Williams has said AS-Levels provided a "safety net" for students
Wales' Education Minister Kirsty Williams has said AS-Levels provided a "safety net" for students. Picture: Getty

"The ability to do that has been very helpful, because those were exams which were set, taken in the same conditions and were externally assessed.

"That can give students, universities and employers real confidence in them".

She also cast doubt on the validity of giving grades based on mock exams,

"Some schools don't do mock examinations," Ms Williams explained.

"Some use mock examinations as a way to boost confidence and deliver them in a way that perhaps they are there to encourage people.

"Other schools use them as a tool of encouragement in the other way, they will mark them really hard so that people don't get complacent.

"Each school has a different approach which we believe is right for them."

Earlier today, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson told LBC he would have "probably rather have liked the AS system that they have in Wales today.".

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