A-level results: 'Huge mess' as exams appeal guidance withdrawn

2020-08-16 | Since 2 Month

The exams regulator is reviewing its guidance on how to appeal against A-level and GCSE grades using mock exam results - hours after publishing it.

On Saturday Ofqual set out what constituted a "valid" mock exam for students appealing against A-level results in England.

But the regulator has now suspended those criteria, and further information will be published "in due course".

One Tory MP described it as a "huge mess" that was "unacceptable".

Neither A-level nor GCSE students were able to sit public exams this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and almost 40% of A-level grades were marked down from teachers' predictions by an Ofqual algorithm.

The Conservative chairman of the education select committee, Robert Halfon, said the decision to review appeals guidance only announced on Saturday left students and schools in confusion.

"That is a huge mess. Goodness knows what is going on at Ofqual. It is the last thing we need at this time. This is just unacceptable in my view," he said.

"Students and teachers are incredibly anxious - particularly the students who are worried about their future. This has got to be sorted out.

"Ofqual shouldn't put things on websites, take them away, sow confusion. This is just not on and it has got to be changed."

Meanwhile, the statistical model used by Ofqual to determine grades faces two legal challenges, which argue students were unfairly judged on the school they attend.

Ofqual said earlier on Saturday that, where a written mock exam was not taken, it would consider other teacher assessments instead.

However, a statement published late on Saturday night on the regulator's website read: "Earlier today we published information about mock exam results in appeals.

"This policy is being reviewed by the Ofqual Board and further information will be published in due course."

Hundreds of students have held a demonstration in central London, demanding clarify over the appeals procedure.

Holding placards - many of which called for the education secretary's resignation - they made their way through Westminster to the Department for Education.

Dozens of protesters sat on the front steps while others shouted "come out Gavin" and "justice for the working class".

Many of the demonstrators have called the downgrading of results "classist".

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