Ofqual responds to media coverage about SQA results

Ofqual has issued a statement in response to recent stories on exam results in Scotland this summer and any impact on results in England.

Due to the cancellation of exams this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) applied a methodology that saw the downgrading of nearly 125,000 grades that had been estimated by teachers.

Pass rates for students in the most deprived areas were reduced by 15.2 per cent, against just 6.9 per cent for students in the most affluent areas.

The Ofqual statement says: "We appreciate students, parents/carers and teachers are anxious to know whether the publication of Scottish exam results last week has any implications for results in England.

"We understand this has been a very difficult year for students, who have not had the chance to prove their knowledge and skills in exams. We want to reassure students that the arrangements in place this summer are the fairest possible to enable them to move on to further study or employment as planned – with grades which are just as valuable as in any other year."

The statement says the grades students receive on Thursday will be based on the judgement of their school or college, and have been moderated by exam boards to make sure the same standard is applied for all students, whichever school, college or part of the country they come from. Overall, grades will be slightly higher than in previous years, by around two percentage points at A level grade A and above.

Ofqual says it will publish equalities data for England, including analysis by socio-economic status, on results days.

The statement continues: "We know teachers worked extremely hard to deliver this year’s arrangements and the vast majority tried their professional best to submit accurate judgements. We expect the overwhelming majority of the grades awarded this week to be within one grade of the centre assessment grades submitted by teachers.

"Overall, students will get the best estimate of the grade they would have achieved if exams had gone ahead. Schools and colleges can appeal if they believe there has been an error or that the moderation process has not produced a reliable result."

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