As schools across the country have received their results today, national figures suggest that nearly 40% of A-level grades have been marked down from the results assessed by schools.
In the absence of exams due to the on-going coronavirus crisis, the government has moderated results using a statistical model and previous years’ results from individual schools.
In an echo of the chaos seen last week in Scotland, the early indications suggest that students from disadvantaged backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by downgrades and students at fee-paying independent schools have seen their grades disproportionately rise.
Wales High School in Rotherham has already reported that 84% of students have seen at least one grade moderated down, with other schools indicating that they believe they also have students who have been disadvantaged.
Cllr Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader of Rotherham Labour Group and former teacher, has said:
“The algorithm used by Ofqual is not fit for purpose. It discriminates against areas like Rotherham that have relatively large A level cohorts, but private schools with small cohorts have seen their grade A awards go up by 4%.
“The Government are saying that this is a fair process, but let us not forget that nearly all Government ministers send their children to private schools.
“This is just another example of a Tory Secretary of State for Education that has no idea meddling in the education process.
“If Michael Gove had not interfered with the exam system when he was the Secretary of State, pupils would have already had about 80% of their exam grade by March – when schools closed – through the modular exams and coursework.
“I urge the Prime Minister to do what the First Minister in Scotland did and accept the teacher assessed grades. In times like this politicians must not stick to dogma, but accept when mistakes have been made.“
The council will be assembling results from schools over the coming days and weeks to try to establish the extent to which Rotherham students may have been affected.