Fairness of A Level results questioned amid downgrading concerns

A level results today has seen students receive "calculated" grades as they were unable to complete exams as normal due to the coronavirus.

However, figures have shown almost 40% of A-level results have been downgraded by at least one grade.

In England, 35.6% of marks were adjusted down by one grade, 3.3% were brought down by two, and 0.2% came down by three.

But the overall results, across England, Northern Ireland and Wales, show higher A* and A grades this year.  There was a 2.5 percentage point rise in A and A* grades at A level, and a 0.7 percentage point rise in overall passes (A*-E).

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, said: "NAHT is particularly concerned about the results which have been lowered by two grades or more.

"Schools used a wide range of evidence to submit grades for their students and we would question how a change this significant could be fair to those students. It is vital that these students get the results that they deserve and not the results which fit a school or college’s past performance profile."

Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers' union said: "While there has been an overall increase in top grades, we are very concerned that this disguises a great deal of volatility among the results at school and student level."

"We have received heartbreaking feedback from school leaders about grades being pulled down in a way that they feel to be utterly unfair and unfathomable. They are extremely concerned about the detrimental impact on their students."

The DfE is giving students more options when it comes to their results; they can accept the calculated grade, appeal to receive a valid mock result, or sit an exam in the autumn.

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