Exam regulator wants to stop appeals against GCSE and A-Level results

GCSE and A-Level pupils ‘will not be able to appeal against exam grades this year… and will be told to RE-SIT tests in the autumn if they are unhappy’

  • Exam regulator Ofqual propose to stop appeals against A-level and GCSE results
  • Students will be graded by teachers after exams cancelled due to coronavirus
  • Ofqual says those who feel unfairly graded will have to sit fresh exams in autumn 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Pupils who should have been sitting GCSEs and A-levels this summer will not be able to challenge the grades their teachers give them, proposals released last night reveal.

They will have no way of appealing the ‘professional judgment’ of their teachers as it would be ‘inappropriate, ineffective and unfair’, Ofqual said in a consultation document.

Their only option if they feel they were unfairly graded will be to sit a fresh exam in the autumn.

Appeals will only be allowed to be made by schools on technical grounds, the exams regulator said.

Pupils who should have been sitting GCSEs and A-levels this summer will not be able to challenge the grades their teachers give them, under new proposals. Image posed by model

The news is likely to exacerbate concerns about the accuracy of teacher assessment and whether pupils such as those with behavioural problems could be unfairly treated.

An analysis of nearly 20,000 predicted grades across 22 subjects last year found that only 40 per cent of teachers’ estimates turned out to be accurate.

Of the 60 per cent that were wrong, 31 per cent were too generous and 29 per cent too negative.

Research has also shown poorer children are more likely to suffer from teachers’ low expectations than their wealthier peers.

Yesterday’s document states: ‘There is no common benchmark or standard against which teachers’ professional judgments, or a centre’s evaluation and use of those judgements in centre assessment grades, can be evaluated.’

Therefore the regulator argues ‘that to provide for a review or appeals process premised on scrutiny of the professional judgements… would be inappropriate, ineffective and unfair in the current exceptional circumstances’.

Instead it proposes that only schools can appeal on the grounds ‘that the wrong information was used to generate calculated grades or that a mistake was made when the exam board standardised the grade or communicated the grades to the centre’.

It also acknowledged the system could be open to abuse.

It said: ‘We recognise the possibility that some centres, pupils and others may try to exploit the exceptional arrangements, including by seeking inappropriately to influence centre assessment grades.

‘We expect exam boards to make sure the arrangements they have in place to comply with our current rules are flexible enough to allow this to be investigated as potential malpractice, leading to the potential imposition of sanctions.’

Earlier this month, Ofqual said teachers will need to decide what grades the 1.3million pupils whose GCSE and A-level exams have been cancelled due to coronavirus ‘were most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned’.

Appeals will only be allowed to be made by schools on technical grounds, the exams regulator Ofqual said. Pictured: Students taking their exams (stock image)

But they will not have to submit any evidence to show how they reached their decisions.

Before the grades are confirmed, exam boards will run a ‘standardisation’ process to root out teachers trying to ‘game’ the system by inflating results, or those that are overly harsh.

When allotting grades, teachers will be expected to form a ‘holistic’ view, even taking into account complex factors like pupils who may be ‘crammers’ and excel at the last minute.

Ofqual said results should be sent to candidates by August if not ‘a little earlier’. It also said pupils who had planned to sit one or more GCSEs a year early should also get allotted grades, reversing their earlier position.

The consultation is open until Wednesday April 29.

 

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