GCSE grades warning from Ofqual board member after A-Level crisis

17 August 2020, 08:05

The government's under pressure to delay the release of GCSE results this week - as it tries to fix the crisis over A-level grades.
The government's under pressure to delay the release of GCSE results this week - as it tries to fix the crisis over A-level grades. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A member of the advisory group to Ofqual has warned of "another wave" of grades that do not reflect those given by teachers when GCSE results are published on Thursday.

Professor Tina Isaacs, who sits on regulator Ofqual's advisory group, warned that Thursday, when GCSE results are due to be released, could see "another wave" of grades that do not reflect those given by teachers.

She warned the Government and regulator Ofqual need to "claw back" public confidence after A-level results day.

The warning comes as Boris Johnson faces mounting pressure to intervene to end the deepening A-levels crisis in England, amid growing anger among pupils and teachers and warnings of unrest among Tory MPs.

The PM has also faced calls to delay publication of GCSE results, due this week, until the problems with A-levels had been resolved.

"Ofqual's role is to carry out Government policy. And when policy shifts every 12 to 24 hours, Ofqual then has to deal with it as best as it can," she Professor Isaacs said.

"Hence the changes to the appeals process, which now Ofqual has taken off the board so that it can give as much consideration to it as possible given the timeframe.

"The GCSE results are due out on Thursday, so we're going to have another wave of potentially, not marked down, but potentially student grades that do not reflect the grades their teachers gave them."

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said the option of awarding pupils their GCSE results based on teacher-assessed grades should be kept on the table.

Professor Isaacs said: "Right now what's happening is the public is losing confidence in the system."

She said the regulator and the Government needed to do something to get public confidence back.

She said: "And it is up to Ofqual, which I know is working very hard, it's up to Ofqual and especially the Government to try to put in place something that will claw back some of that public confidence.

"I'm afraid it will not be able to claw back all of it."

The Government announced last week that A-level and GCSE students will be able to use results in valid mock exams to appeal if they are unhappy with their results.

But universities, schools, teachers and students have been demanding clarity over how the process will work.

Almost 40 per cent of all A-level grades in England were marked down as a result of the standardisation process, and ministers are now braced for another backlash with GCSE results which are moderated using the same algorithm.

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