Saturday, 19 Sep 2020

School news: Students’ exams cheer after U-turn on downgrades

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More than 124,000 exam results downgraded by a controversial moderation process are to revert to grades estimated by teachers.

The humiliating climbdown by the Holyrood parliament sparked warnings that the same chaos could surround the A-level and GCSE results in England and Wales.

Exams watchdog Ofqual has followed a similar system which takes teacher predictions and runs them through an algorithm.

The regulator has also confirmed that standardisation would draw on the historical outcomes of a school, meaning clever pupils who have done well in poorer schools could be discriminated against.

Scotland’s Education Secretary John Swinney faced criticism from pupils, parents and teachers, and calls to resign.

The pass rate for pupils in the most deprived areas of Scotland sitting Highers – the equivalent of A-Levels – was reduced by 15.2 percent, compared with 6.9 percent in the most affluent parts of the country.

Former Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw said: “I’m concerned that we don’t see a replication of what happened in Scotland. There was a disproportionate number of downgrades of youngsters from poor backgrounds in disadvantaged schools.”

Yesterday Boris Johnson was warned he risks “robbing a generation of young people of their future” unless unfairness in the grading system is addressed.

But Clare Marchant of UCAS, the university and colleges admissions service, said 18-yearolds should just “move on” if their grades were still good enough to win them a place.

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