Clearly the past few days have been regrettable and I’m well aware of the stress and anxiety this has caused a number of my young constituents who have worked very hard for their A levels (many of whom my office has been supporting over the past few days). Any approach to awarding exam grades at a time when exams have been cancelled comes with its own shortcomings and this will be the case with this new approach also.
However, in light of the events over the past few days I think this was the correct decision. Ofqual were responsible for developing the algorithm for awarding grades and to say that I’ve been concerned about some of the patterns that have been emerging would be an understatement and many of the stories I’ve heard have been worrying. It’s positive news that GCSE students have this certainty ahead of receiving their grades this week and that hopefully the kind of upset and anxiety we’ve seen this week can be avoided.
Wherever exam results are handed out it won’t always be good news for everyone and there will always be some that will be disappointed however at the very least the whole system needs to be underpinned by a sense of fairness. I do have concerns about grade inflation and clearly teachers predicting grades isn’t the same as students actually sitting and passing exams but in the absence of exams and the shortcomings of Ofqual’s algorithm there appears to be no alternative. I have been communicating my concerns to Ministers over the past couple of days following discussions with constituents and I’m glad this announcement has been made.