Wales News Online

Local & National News for Wales

Qualifications Wales indicates examination grades in Wales will be lowered

WITH examination results expected out soon in Wales it is projected that thousands of estimated examination grades will be lowered to account for teachers being “generous” and inconsistency across schools and colleges, Qualifications Wales has indicated.

Due to the coronavirus, examinations were cancelled therefore initial results were based on how teachers predicted how a student would have performed.

Similar processes were adopted in Scotland and England and in both countries, a similar pattern has emerged with equal unhappiness and dissatisfaction being expressed by schools and students.

In Scotland, thousands of students received lower grades than had been estimated by their teachers. These results were moderated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which led to 125,000 estimated grades being lowered – a quarter of the total. The decision has led to fierce criticism, especially from parents and schools.

Already it is being projected that in England almost 40% of A-level grades submitted by teachers are set to be downgraded when examination results are published next week. It is projected that overall close to two million teacher assessments will be adjusted downwards.

In Wales schools and colleges submitted estimated grades to the WJEC examination board in June, as well as ranking pupils within grades in each subject.

The examination board then looked at further information such as how pupils have performed in previous years and the results of individual schools and colleges in previous years.

Philip Blaker the Chief Executive of Qualifications Wales said without such an approach “big variations in outcomes would reduce confidence in results and therefore disadvantage this year’s learners”.

He added, “on the whole centre assessed grades were generous and there was also evidence of inconsistency between exam centres.”

Analysis by the regulator showed that, based on the estimated grades, more than 40% of A-levels would have been awarded at A* or A in 2020 compared with 27% in 2019.

At GCSE level, 73% would have had an A* to C grade this year, compared with 62% in 2019.

Mr Blaker also said that the watchdog’s analysis showed a “clear difference between CAGs and exam results in previous years, highlighting the need for standardisation to secure fairness for learners”.

Adding “Changes of this magnitude are unprecedented and unchecked would not be credible”

Philip Blaker emphasised that the approach taken had been “carefully thought through to be as fair as possible in the circumstances and protect the value of results”.

It is expected that like in Scotland there will be a fierce backlash in Wales from students and their parents when the results are published.



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