A-level and GCSE students in England will now be awarded their predicted grades from their teachers.
Last night, Monday 17th August the decision was made to overhaul the algorythm that was in place to provide GCSE and A Level students with their results after last week over 39% of A Level students received results that had been downgraded from their teachers predicted results (i.e. some that were predicted A* received a B) leaving students outraged as University places were lost.
Exam results days are often likened to a roller-coaster ride, but this year the highs and lows have been something else.
Straight A pupils were given A-level grades befitting those in bottom sets, and how well teenagers could perform was defined by those who attended their schools before them.
Once Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon ditched her nation’s standardisation model, it was arguably only a matter of time before the other nations followed suit.
- U-turn on A-levels and GCSEs as teacher grades used
- How did the A-level algorithm work?
- Can I accept a degree place and sit the exam? And other questions
Cue the domino effect: Northern Ireland reinstated teacher-assessed grades, then Wales, and finally England.
These students are all competing for the same university places and are in the same jobs market after all.
What happens next?
It’s a bit messy to say the least.
According to the former head of Universities and College Admissions Service (Ucas), Mary Curnock Cook, there are about 55,000 students who have either accepted second choice offers or got a university place through the Clearing system which matches students with unfilled places.
But when universities make a conditional offer and the pupil obtains those grades, the university is legally required to provide them with a place on that course.
Because places have been allocated on the earlier adjusted results, there will more qualified students than places available, however.
Mr Williamson has now confirmed that the strict limit on university places which was reintroduced will be removed, but it’s not clear whether universities will be able to accommodate everyone entitled to a place.
The Russell Group of leading universities said it had already accepted many students who had narrowly missed out on their grades, but it was not sure if they would be able to stretch resources to meet the needs of everyone.
Ucas said nearly 70% of 18-year-olds had already got a place at their first choice university – but what of those who have not?
“Once your university has your centre-assessed grades via exam bodies they can make a decision as to whether there is a place at your first preferred choice,” it added.
That does not sound like much of a guarantee.
For example, the University of Reading has already said it will not be able to give places to everyone with the right grades.
On the up side, GCSE pupils are likely to get record results on Thursday thanks to the reinstatement of teacher-assessed grades.
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