Today, Ofqual has published its guidelines for this years A-Level/ GCSE appeals procedures. Ofqual claims that this year’s arrangements were “the fairest possible in the absence of exams”; However, the 40% of students who feel they have been unfairly marked down tell a vastly different and much angrier story.
The fact an appeals process even needed points towards ministers and those in charge knowing the system has problems but doing nothing pro-active to solve them.
On Thursday the 13th of August, students across England received their algorithm assessed ‘A-Level Results. Within hours of students receiving their predicted grades the reports of students being unfairly marked down rolled in.
Along with their results, students were told they have three options, they can keep their predicted grade, they could take the actual exam at the next opportunity, OR, they can appeal the grade and fall back to their ‘Mock exam’ result; However, there was no actual appeals process in place, and both Government AND Ofqual has no guidance for students on how to appeal.
Department of Education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has announced that Government will cover the costs of student appeals.
Today, two days after the exam results were released, on Saturday 15th August, Ofqual has FINALLY confirmed they will be ready to process these appeals from Monday. Students, teachers, parents and everyone else have been left wondering why it has taken so long to be published and why it was not worked out months ago, when it became apparent exams could not go ahead, in April.
Students seeking advice should first speak to their school or college.https://www.gov.uk/
The Ofqual guidance states that “appeal is open to any student whose mock grade is higher than their calculated grade; including those who had not taken a written mock exam before schools and colleges closed.
“We will therefore allow a non-exam assessment mark to be used too. “
The guidence states that anyone who successfully appeals their predicted grade will receive their mock exam or non-exam mark as their final grade. While it is good that government/Ofqual has finally scraped together a heath-robinsonesque appeals process; using mock exam results is not ideal.
In most cases, mock exams occur halfway through the year and do not include all topics covered by the course; in other cases, lecturers who think they are ‘doing students a favour’ by heavily marking down their work in an extremely short-sighted form of ‘motivation’. It is because of these reasons that many students see mock reasons as a poor, and lazy way of fixing the mess COVID-19 has caused.
We have a great article written by 18-year-old Journalist Matthew Barnes on his (and his colleges) experience with the A-Level results fiasco – Click here to read it.
There is no easy solution to the problems COVID-19 has brought to the world of Education. (It has directly affected the VB offices!) How do you think the exam results situations in both England and Scotland should have been deal with? How would you have dealt with this problem?
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