Inflated A-level grades can make fair college admission “difficult”


It has been suggested that this summer, even more top grades may be awarded to A-level students than last year to make up for the great learning turmoil.

There is a warning that “bulging grades” will become the new standard, making it more difficult for universities to “choose accurately and fairly.”

After this summer’s exams have been canceled for the second year in a row due to a pandemic, it will be before the day of next week’s A-level results, where tens of thousands of graduates will know their grades.

British teachers submitted decisions about student performance after using a variety of evidence, including mock exams, coursework, and in-class assessments using exam committee questions.

Students protested A-level results in 2020
In 2020, students protested A-level results with dateless photos. (PA)

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Center for Education and Employment Research (CEER) at the University of Buckingham, said:

“The danger is that the bulging grade, in other words the lower standard, becomes the new standard.”

Last summer, a blunder over grade evaluation caused thousands of A-level students to downgrade their results from school estimates with a controversial algorithm before Ofqual announced a U-turn.

The percentage of A-level entries awarded the highest grades surged to a record high if the grades were higher than the moderated grades they received after being allowed to be based on the teacher’s assessment.

Prior to Tuesday’s A-level results day, Smithers warned: ..

“Some of the recognized people can’t cope and waste time and money, while others who are more capable miss the time when they should have done really well.

“Giving higher grades in return for lost learning can be kindly killed,” he added.

However, Head Teachers Union said it was “useless” to speculate on how grade profiles could look for this year’s A level.

According to statistics released by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), last year 38.6% of UK entries received an A or A * grade after U-turnover grading, compared to 25.5% in 2019.

Meanwhile, the percentage of entries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which were awarded Top A * grades in 2020, surged from 7.8% in the previous year to 14.4%.

Smithers added: “Logically, there is no reason why the A-level standard should not be returned to the 2019 level, but we are concerned that various pressures will allow the government to maintain the 2020 standard. ..

“At best, the performance pattern may be somewhere between 2019 and 2020, but there is a hint that there may be more top grades than in 2020.”

He acknowledged that the 2020 cohort suffered only one, while the cohort faced “confusion in both years of the course” and could argue for a more empathetic assessment. I did.

Smithers added, “This year’s candidates will be competing for college locations in the outflow from 2020, and returning to the hard-edged 2019 performance pattern risks putting pressure on them. I can insist. “

“It’s also true that many parents and students are happy with the abundance of A grades because they have more space at the top and are more likely to enroll in top colleges,” he says. I did.

However, the report warns that further grades of “inflation” will make it difficult for major universities to “distinguish applicants with sufficient clarity.”

After Ucas predicts that a record number of students will start college and college with applications and offers this fall.

Among 18-year-old students in the UK, higher education applications have increased by 12% and offers have increased by 10%.

Tom Middlehurst, Curriculum and Inspection Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: The results will be announced.

“Ofqual’s chief regulator has already warned that due to the nature of this summer’s assessment, higher performance profiles should be expected.

“When the results are released next week, they reflect the system devised by the government and Ofqual, not the work of senior leaders and teachers who have responded appropriately and professionally in the interpretation and implementation of the guidance. No. They received. “

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education (DfE) said: A quality qualification that takes them to the next stage of life.

“Exams are the best form of evaluation, but without this year’s exams, a good place to judge young people’s abilities is better than teachers who see them every day.

“Teachers evaluate multiple tasks and give students multiple opportunities to show what they know and can do.

“As always, the government is working closely with the university before the results to ensure that as many students as possible can make progress if they get the grades they need.”

Eleanor Basby