A Level results day is always an emotional rollercoaster, with great success for many and disappointment for some; university places or employment secured, but sometimes a rejigging of the best made plans. In past years a tricky exam or bad performance on the day could explain the slip of a predicted grade or two. It was tough, but ultimately understandable.
Unfortunately, the arbitrary nature of the fabled Ofqual algorithm is proving to too many to be an unfair judge. This was always going to be a prospect, which is why on 10th July, following conversations with a local head teacher, I asked the Department of Education for a pupil-specific appeals process for schools to challenge results. This was in the context of GCSEs, but the same would need to apply to A levels.
The appeals process is now confused. There needs to be clarity given rapidly to it, so that it can command confidence. If it works, fine. If not, scrap it. 2020 will be the year of anomalies. Understandably, the contingencies necessitated because of Covid-19 have been far from ideal. This is particularly so in education.
I want to see all schools and colleges back in full in September, so that pupils and students do not have to rely on predicted grades, to help avoid a repeat of this situation. However, we are where we are, and that is why I am willing to trust teachers’ assessments of their pupils and students for both GCSE and A level results this year.
This may lead to unforeseen consequences, but I cannot help but think these will risk less of an injustice than the current situation