This year GCSEs and A-Level results posed many questions after exams were cancelled. How did the government’s algorithm work? Who decides on which grade to give? Why did private schools achieve the best grades? How is it fair? Next year’s results are heading down the same rocky path.
The cancellation of exams and closures of schools back in March caused anxiety across the country with students wondering whether they would get the grades they needed to progress onto their next stage of education. Results day caused an uproar with the government’s algorithm causing chaos.
Grades were based on previous years’ results and student’s predicted grades in the hopes of preventing skewed results. However, this plan was not to last with students eventually being given the option to choose either the government’s algorithm grade or their teacher predicted grade. But was this good news? Many students would have been overjoyed, potentially getting higher than expected if they continued down their trajectory; whilst others were left devastated.
Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) recently released data analysing the results of the 2019/2020 A-Level cohort. Results showed the number of students receiving 3 A* had decreased from 3007 in 2019 to 2996. Whilst the average number of A-Level qualifications achieved per student rose to 2.67 compared to 2.66 in 2019.
This might seem like great news, but further data illustrates Southampton A-Level students are now ranking one of the lowest in the country. According to the Department of Education, out of the 523 A-Level students 11% received three A*-A grades, 20% attaining ABB or higher and 64% of students achieved at least 2 qualifications. Despite these improvements being better than the previous year, Southampton still sits within the lowest achieving areas of England.
The vast difference between pupils across the country still resides in many people’s minds. Students cannot decide where they live or their background, but why did we let that dictate their grades?