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Government Scraps Controversial Algorithm After Backlash Against A-Level Grades

Government Scraps Controversial Algorithm After Backlash Against A-Level Grades

The UK government has announced it is scrapping the algorithm that was used to standardise the A-Level results in England after the system was heavily criticised for being potentially unfair.

Roger Taylor, the chair of Ofqual - The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, who designed the system - apologised to students and said: "We understand this has been a distressing time for students, who were awarded exam results last week for exams they never took.

"The pandemic has created circumstances no one could have ever imagined or wished for.

"We want to now take steps to remove as much stress and uncertainty for young people as possible - and to free up heads and teachers to work towards the important task of getting all schools open in two weeks.

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"After reflection, we have decided that the best way to do this is to award grades on the basis of what teachers submitted. The switch to centre assessment grades will apply to both AS and A levels and to the GCSE results which students will receive later this week."

Students have taken to the streets to protest against the exam result standardisation. Credit: PA
Students have taken to the streets to protest against the exam result standardisation. Credit: PA

Boris Johnson held a conference call this morning during which he spoke with ministers and senior officials while he remains on holiday in Scotland.

Before the announcement, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: "The whole of government has been working hard and continues to work hard to come up with the fairest system possible.

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"We recognise this has been an incredibly difficult year, and that is why that work continues.

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"We recognise that many people are concerned and anxious about the exam grading system."

When asked why education secretary Gavin Williamson hadn't been seen since Saturday, the spokesperson added: "You saw the education secretary last week, and I expect you'll see him again."

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The algorithm created controversy and anger among teachers and students last Thursday when 40 percent of the predicted grades of A-Level students were downgraded as a result of the standardisation system.

Both educators and pupils have called - and in some cases protested - against the system devised by Ofqual and asked to return to the predicted grades given by teachers.

Ofqual insisted that the algorithm was needed to provide a fair and standardised set of results that are in line with previous years across the country.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson. Credit: PA
Education secretary Gavin Williamson. Credit: PA
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However, there have been countless stories of unfairness, and individuals' grades being marked down significantly by the algorithm.

The Scottish government performed a U-turn on their grading system last week, and the government of Northern Ireland announced earlier today that their GCSE results would be based entirely on teachers provided grades.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK News, Politics

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a LADbible journalist and Twin Peaks enthusiast. Despite having a career in football cut short by a chronic lack of talent, he managed to obtain degrees from both the University of London and Salford. According to his French teacher, at the weekends he mostly likes to play football and go to the park with his brother. Contact Tom on [email protected]