Hundreds of thousands of pupils received their GCSE results on Thursday after months of waiting, on an unprecedented day of results which saw the pass rate in England increase to an all-time high.
Almost four fifths (78.8 per cent) of results were handed pass marks, up from 69.9 per cent in 2019, while more than 27 per cent of GCSEs handed to 16-year-olds in England were marked at grade 7 or above, which is equivalent to A or A*.
The higher than average proportion of students achieving top grades meant that more pupils will be eligible to study difficult subjects at A-levels.
Students began to collect their grades from 8am by either going into their school or receiving their results through the post or via email.
Close to half a million pupils were also facing fresh exam chaos on Thursday after an 11th hour decision to withhold their results.
This was after the exam board Pearson told schools not to publish BTEC results on Wednesday night, saying that they needed more time to recalculate grades, which ultimately that many students did not immediately get their results.
GCSE Results 2020: What happened today
Good afternoon. Here is a rundown of everything that happened today as an estimated 950,000 students received their GCSE results:
- Almost four fifths (78.8 per cent) of results were handed pass marks, up from 69.9 per cent in 2019.
- More than 27 per cent of GCSEs handed to 16-year-olds in England were marked at grade 7 or above, which is equivalent to A or A*.
- More students than ever are likely to progress to A-levels and vocational courses following steep rises in the GCSE pass rates for maths and English, college leaders predicted.
- In the time of coronavirus, students collected their grades from 8am, by either going into their school or receiving their results by post or by email.
- The schools minister Nick Gibb has said he hopes BTEC students will get their results next week. Asked when they will receive their grades, Mr Gibb told the BBC: “Well as soon as possible, but I hope next week.”
- GCSE subjects including Astronomy, Performing and Expressive Arts, Engineering and Drama saw teachers predict relatively more top grades this year than with larger cohorts.
- Double science, English and mathematics all saw the lowest number of top grades this year, with the most top grades for classics and modern languages.
- Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green has called on Boris Johnson to take responsibility “for the way in which young people have been failed” in relation to A-Level and BTEC results.
GCSE results 2020 – what were the pass rates in each subject?
|Art and Design subjects||190,400||29.6||86.4||99.9|
|Design & Technology||88,872||27.6||79||99.7|
|Food Preparation and Nutrition||47,131||24.6||78.6||99.9|
|Media / Film / TV Studies||34,657||24.4||80.5||99.8|
|Other Modern Languages||22,276||68.6||94.9||99.5|
|Performing / Expressive Arts||8,996||38.5||87.6||99.9|
|Science: Double Award||814,708||10.5||64.5||99.6|
|Social Science subjects||38,093||27.2||78.3||99.6|
GCSE pass rate means more students than ever likely to attend colleges
More students than ever are likely to progress to A-levels and vocational courses following steep rises in the GCSE pass rates for maths and English, college leaders have predicted.
Nearly three in four (71.2 per cent) of all entries in England received a grade 4 or above – broadly equivalent to a C or above – in English this year, compared with 61.8 per cent last year, according to data published by exams regulator Ofqual.
David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, said course choices for those finishing school “may be different” this year due to the GCSE results.
He said: “With an increase in top grades and passes, it is likely that more students than ever will progress to Level 3 vocational courses or A-levels.
“At the same time there may be fewer apprenticeship opportunities for school leavers because of the pressures in the labour market.”
Mr Hughes said that while colleges could see an increase in applications, he is “certain” there is enough capacity to ensure students can get on to the right course.
Julia Buckingham: ‘The grades U-turn has caused a ripple effect throughout education’
This week’s late policy change will also cause a ripple effect across education, ultimately creating a huge problem for many universities in terms of their own position and finances, writes Professor Julia Buckingham.
“These are very good universities with fine reputations and currently secure financial positions. They produce excellent graduates, but have slightly lower entry requirements.
“Usually they would expect to welcome large number of students through clearing but the late movement of students between institutions as a result of this policy change risks making their financial positions far less secure.”
‘2021 exams fiasco can only be prevented by well-managed, well-moderated assessment’
Only a super optimist envisages an undisrupted school experience next year, writes Magnus Bashaart, head of Bedales school in Hampshire – as relying on final exams will find us in the same position again.
The decision to allow Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) to stand for this year’s A level results in place of the arbitrarily applied OFQUAL calculated grade, though tortuously delayed, was justice for candidates whose Year 13 experience had been blighted already so significantly by the COVID closure.
Teacher assessment had to be relied upon because the external exam system failed, leaving thousands of young people feeling let down by a government and Education Secretary who had promised them more opportunities to better themselves and fulfil their ambitions. They certainly weren’t feeling that this week.
Nonetheless, the moment represents an important opportunity for government to start building trust with pupils and teachers by looking again, and speedily, at the viability of teacher assessment alongside terminal examinations as a fair, accurate and accountable way of measuring pupil achievement. I know schools like mine in both state and independent sectors who have been innovating with alternatives to GCSE and A Level would be happy to contribute to such a process.
2020 university life: ‘I don’t think I’m getting my money’s worth’
A foreign student crisis, the rise of remote learning and some very expensive pianos lie in wait for higher education, reports our senior feature writer Joe Shute.
In April, Manchester University forecast a loss in income of £270m as a result of Covid-19 and is aiming to shave 15 to 25 per cent from its annual income to mitigate the impact. According to Dr Miguel Antonio Lim that means a freeze on new hires, voluntary redundancies, a freeze on capital spending where possible and a freeze on expense accounts.
Against this backdrop of dire financial predictions, Sheffield University has in recent weeks sparked outrage with the news it is spending £472,000 on 17 Steinway pianos for its music department.
Staff members currently undergoing rounds of voluntary redundancies have criticised the purchase as a “display of elitism” and an “obtuse gesture”. But the university’s defence, that the pianos will “enhance the student experience”, is an interesting indication of the future emphasis institutions will place on the quality of campus life.
Certainly over the next academic year the traditional student experience of freshers’ week, cavernous lecture halls, parties and societies will be dramatically curtailed. Such activities are, after all, ideal for precipitating the spread of the virus. Cambridge University was the first to ban face-to-face lectures until 2021 with many others expected to follow suit for the next academic year.
- A bleak prognosis for those going on to universities: Read Joe’s full feature here
- Enjoy all of our Telegraph long reads in one place
Tory Liaison Committee Chairman ‘concerned’ over Government education response
Tory chairman of the Liaison Committee Sir Bernard Jenkin has told BBC Radio 4 that he is “concerned” that when something goes wrong “it is never the Government’s fault”.
Sir Bernard said:
Well ministers have to make decisions – they either support their people or they get rid of them and get new people, and they can’t have a halfway house.
And I think that… I am concerned that there’s a sort of pattern setting in under this Government that something goes wrong and it is the permanent secretary’s fault or it’s some public body’s fault, but it is never the Government’s fault.
I recognise that there is a lot of frustration in Government about Government machinery not seeming to function very well, or not responding to what ministers want, but the only way that the Civil Service can deliver what ministers want is if there is a free and open and trusting flow of information backwards and forwards from ministers and officials.
If the whole… discourse between ministers and officials becomes stifled in an atmosphere of blame and fear, then I don’t think civil servants will be able to support ministers very effectively.
Who is going to stick their head over the parapet, tell the minister the bad news, if they’re going to get blamed for it? There needs to be a much more collaborative approach to running the Government than has been demonstrated.
Apprenticeships, BTECs and NVQs: a guide to your options after GCSEs
The wait is almost over – GCSE results will be issued to students on Thursday. But even before results day, many students have been considering their options for the future for some time.
A-levels remain the traditional route taken for post-16 education, but there are several alternatives that students can consider. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote a piece last year arguing why the nation needs more apprenticeships in order to help those from a range of academic backgrounds find meaningful and fulfilling careers.
But some business owners have argued that the complexity and cost of the system puts them off participating.
For those confused about the best path to take, Hetty Cunningham has our guide to apprenticeships, BTECs, NVQs, and traineeships.
The inside story of how an algorithm created Results Day chaos
Ofqual’s technical advisors were feeling uneasy. Ahead of the release of the A-Level results, in a meeting last Tuesday, the external advisory committee “knew that what was coming would be difficult,” one of its members Jo-Anne Baird recalls.
“The evidence upon which students are given their grades really matters to how justified they feel.”
Committee members had just seen what happened in Scotland. There, leaders had been forced to apologise, and ultimately had decided to scrap the moderation process. But, here, in England, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson had been clear.
“He’d instructed Ofqual to find a system that didn’t change the outcomes too much from previous years. So, under that remit, Ofqual had to produce an algorithm that looked like it did,” Baird says. What had been created, insiders say, had been “the least worst option”.
Now, though, just over a week later, it appears those advisors had reason to be concerned. Following an outpouring of anger from teachers and pupils over unfairly lowered grades, Ofqual’s model was cast aside in favour of ‘centrally assessed grades’, for both the revised A Level grades, and today’s GCSE marks in lieu of any examinations.
- Hannah Boland and Michael Cogley: How the algorithm created chaos
- Where last week’s chaos left A-Level students, for better or worse
- Summer sale – save over 50% on uncompromising journalism from Britain’s most trusted journalists
GCSE exams with fewer entries inflated most by teacher assessments – analysis
Grades for GCSEs and A-levels have hit record highs this year with the switch to teacher predictions, but not all subjects have reaped the benefits to the same extent.
GCSE subjects with smaller entries including Astronomy, Performing and Expressive Arts, Engineering and Drama have seen teachers predict relatively more top grades this year than with larger cohorts, such as Maths and English, after the government ditched the use of an algorithm to assign results.
The share of grades achieved by GCSE students of all ages that were at least grade 7 – equivalent to an A or higher before recent reforms – has increased from a fifth (20.7 per cent) to a quarter (25.9 per cent), the highest since 2002, and not a single subject saw a decrease in its pass rate year-on-year.
My daughter’s BTEC grades are missing, as is any support from our local MP – Gavin Williamson
My daughter, Emilia was on a BTEC Level 3 Business course at Northampton College and was due to receive her results last Thursday along with A-Level students – but no results came, Karen Reynolds recalls.
We were told by the college that there was a problem with Pearson and that the results would be there within the next 24 hours. But since then the chaos has just been ongoing.
Pearson has said that the college submitted paperwork late, the college is denying that and saying it’s Pearson’s error, but when we’ve contacted Pearson ourselves, you just get a standard ‘we’re not able to discuss the issues’ message. It’s impossible.
My daughter is one of about 450,000 BTEC students who study at higher and lower levels. About 250,000 collected their results last week along with the downgraded A-levels.
But for about 1,500 students across the country no grades were issued. These are 1,500 students who are beside themselves with worry waiting to find out what’s going to happen in their future.
Northern Ireland GCSE results see an improvement across the board
Teacher-assessed GCSE results have seen an improvement across all grades in Northern Ireland, where 29,000 pupils received results this morning from examinations body CCEA.
These grades were based on teacher estimates after Stormont education minister Peter Weir abandoned plans to use a standardised model following an outcry over last week’s A-Level results.
Outcomes increased across all grades, with 37.1 per cent of pupils achieving grade A* to A – an increase of 5.7 percentage points on last year.
The proportion of pupils receiving A* to C grades also increased, up 7.6 percentage points to 89.4 per cent.
The numbers receiving A*-G grades increased by 0.9 percentage points to 99.7 per cent.
Bobby Friedman: ‘BTEC results delay will go down terribly among the Tories’ Red Wall voters’
It was not a case of if, but when. It was always going to be politically – and morally – impossible for BTEC students to have their results determined through trial by algorithm, thereby causing substantial injustice to numerous pupils, Bobby Friedman opines.
While few will disagree with the government’s decision yesterday afternoon to jettison the computer-determined results, the manner of the U-turn will doubtless prove damaging.
First, BTEC results that were released alongside A-levels last week were not included in Monday’s decision to ditch the algorithm. Then, for the remaining BTEC grades that were due to be released today, it was only last night, with the results ready and waiting in sealed envelopes, that it was announced that the marks would not be given as planned. 250,000 pupils are affected by the ongoing delay.
It is true that this has been a rapidly-developing crisis, but there is no reason why the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, could not have responded sooner. The very same principles apply to BTEC results as they do to A-levels, and they could and should have been included in the re-think earlier in the week. As for what should have been today’s results, there was enough time to recalculate them and release them as planned – just as has been done with GCSEs.
‘Boris Johnson has failed young people’, say Labour over BTEC and A-Level exams algorithm debacle
Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green has called on Boris Johnson to take responsibility “for the way in which young people have been failed”
“The Prime Minister needs to account to student for what has gone wrong”, she said.
Speaking on GCSE results day, Ms Green criticised Mr Johnson for being on holiday during the results fiasco.
The Labour MP also questioned whether Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson were “up to the job”.
“The job is to put young people first,” she said, “and they have failed to do so.”
GCSE Results reaction: ‘The Great Exams Fiasco isn’t over. For some families, it has barely begun’
There’s been months of stress and uncertainty, followed by weeks of utter chaos, writes Leah Hardy. But if your child has received their predicted A level grades and snapped up a place at university, you might be forgiven for popping open a bottle of fizz and sighing with relief.
After a shambolic start, even GCSE students are now able to access their teacher assessed grades. But believe me, the great exam fiasco is far from over. Indeed, for many families it has barely begun.
Today, school students are on the march again. As they picket Department of Education buildings around the country, they hope to focus attention on a new, potential disaster coming down the tracks: the plight of children due to take exams next year and even the year after that.
You might well have assumed that by next May, all this – the pandemic, the exams not taken, the confusion over grades and the U-turns in government policy – will be history.
But how can our young people can be expected to take these ever more demanding exams – both GCSEs and A levels – when they’ve missed so much education? Teachers too are concerned. They have been promised that the curriculum may be abbreviated. Yet, with just two weeks to go until the start of term, they still don’t know what next year’s exams will look like, and thus what they are expected to teach.
- Leah Hardy: We must take a hard look at what needs to be done
- Durham University offers cash to students to stay away for another year
Headmaster likens current GCSE results situation to postwar education system
Gavin Horgan, the headmaster of Millfield School in Somerset, has compared the current situation to the postwar education system, and warned that the problems facing both students and the wider education structure in the UK will “in all likelihood last a generation”.
Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Horgan said:
It is wonderful that in GCSEs today, and at A-level, students will now gain the best grades possible in the circumstances.
They absolutely deserve that, and they never deserved the shameful approach that was taken to get to this point by the Government and exam boards.
However, bigger hurdles are ahead. The results received by students and the hiatus in education for many across the country, means that we will have legacy issues which will, in all likelihood, last a generation.
The pressure on the university system, the threat to post-92 universities, which are a vital element of our further education tapestry, and the knock-on implications of grade inflation for Year 11 students going into A-level studies this year and for those same students next year when they look to apply to university, cannot simply be written off in the same way that results have been this year.
Sadly, we are just at the very start of the problem.
BTEC grades ‘incompetence’ must end, National Education Union says
The Government now “must put an end” to the “incompetence” around the issuing of the BTEC results, the National Education Union has said.
Hundreds of thousands of BTEC students are still waiting for their final grades after the exam board told schools and colleges not to release the results to pupils on Thursday.
Dr Mary Bousted said: “Teachers know their students better than any model or algorithm and it will be a relief to many that the grades they receive are now a fairer reflection of their achievements.
“To add to the GCSE and A-level fiasco, the decision by Pearson not to issue BTEC results at the eleventh hour compounds the upsetting and chaotic experience for students.
“Government must put an end to this incompetence and work quickly to ensure every young person gets the grades they deserve to move on to the next stages of their lives.”
GCSE grades for Wales provisionally published and show ‘substantially higher’ results
In Wales, exam regulator Qualifications Wales has published the provisional results for this summer’s GCSEs.
It said the revised results for GCSE and the Key Stage 4 Skills Challenge Certificate are “substantially higher than results in recent years”.
Qualifications Wales estimated that 25.9% of students received cumulative A* or A grade GCSE – compared to 18.4 per cent in 2019.
It also said 74.5 per cent of students received cumulative A* to C grade GCSE, compared to 62.8 per cent in 2019.
The provisional cumulative A* to A-grade results of the Key Stage 4 Skills Challenge Certificate have risen from 14 per cent in 2019 to 20.1 per cent this year.
GCSE results 2020 Q&A: Expert advice on retakes, re-marks and dealing with exam disappointment
The waiting game is almost over, with pupils across the country nervously opening their GCSE results on Thursday. They’ll either be celebrating or reflecting on their grades.
But what to do next? To prepare you for what happens after opening the envelope, Jane Lunnon – the head of Wimbledon High School – has unpacked a few scenarios that might help you or your teenager figure out their next steps.
Done better than expected in a particular subject, or are your grades across the board not what you wanted?
Parent says Btec grades delay has left his son feeling like ‘second-class student’
The parent of one Btec student has said that the decision to withhold final grades for what ministers are now expecting to be a week has left his son feeling like a “second-class student”.
Hundreds of thousands of Btec students are still waiting for their final grades after the exam board told schools and colleges not to release the results to pupils today. Caleb Taylor, 19, is waiting for the results of his level three Btec in computing and business.
His father, Richard, said he has now been unable to enrol at his college in Gwent for next year without knowing his final grades.
He told the PA news agency: “I think it’s a disgrace. He feels like he is a second-class student, and Btecs are seen as less important than A-levels because they have been sorted out last.
“Technical qualifications shouldn’t be seen as less than. My son is really anxious because he doesn’t know what he will be doing next year.
“He plans to go to university but it is a good thing he didn’t want to go this year because he would have missed out on his space.
“There has just been no communication, we just don’t know what is going on.”
Exams not gone to plan? Here are seven ways to cheer yourself up
With news that 40 per cent of A-level grades have been downgraded this year and GCSE results calculated differently, many young people have been left bitterly disappointed at their results.
Experts agree that it is not surprising to feel frustration, sadness and even grief or anger at the situation, but it’s possible to find hope and a little positivity, too. And our own Leah Hardy’s suggestions might help.
Boris Johnson congratulates students on record-breaking GCSE grades
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has offered his congratulations to this year’s cohort of GCSE students, thanking them for the sacrifices that they have made during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Congratulations to everyone receiving their GCSE results today. I know the last few months have been tough and this isn’t how you imagined you would be finishing Year 11, but you can be proud of how you helped to keep the virus under control,” he wrote on Twitter.
“You have literally saved lives through staying at home and keeping distance from others. Thank you for protecting yourselves, your families and your communities this year. And once again – congratulations and well done!”
‘Exams algorithm has been used since 2011 – and I resigned because of it’
In all this discussion around student grades and how they’ve been decided by data, one uncomfortable truth has been left out: algorithms have been used by Ofqual for a decade already, writes John Nield.
This may come as a surprise. But that demonstrates how little is known of how the examining system works – and more pertinently how little anyone outside it has really worried before.
You may not have approved of GCSE or A-level results in the past, you may have complained of grade inflation or about this or that board. But how closely have you – or most people including politicians – looked before?
So let me share with you some inside knowledge.
I have been involved in examining for 45 years as an examiner, Principal Examiner and Chief Examiner.
As such was I the first person to understand what was to come? Maybe. After all I resigned in 2011 because Ofqual then imposed a system whereby grades were awarded via an algorithm with the aim of ironing out the differences between one year’s awards and the next. This is called norm referencing.
As a teacher, however, I always liked the abnormal students who refused to be put into a box, or, were like the unruly bulges that refused to be forced into a Victorian girdle. For that is what the examination system is: an outmoded means of forcing every student into a girdle and woe betide any student who is an unruly bulge.
Gavin Williamson: GCSE students should feel ‘incredibly proud’ of results
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said those receiving their GCSE results today should feel “incredibly proud” of what they have achieved “in the face of immense challenge and uncertainty”.
He said: “This is an exciting day and young people now can look forward to taking their next steps, whether that is returning to schools and colleges in September to do A-levels or our brand new T-levels, or taking one of the many other routes available like starting an apprenticeship.
“I also want to pay a special tribute to teachers and school leaders this year who have shown dedication, resilience and ingenuity to support their students to get to this moment.”
Stormont education minister Peter Weir also issued a statement congratulating GCSE students.
“These outcomes reflect the assessments made by the people who know you best, your teachers,” he said.
“I appreciate the past few months have been particularly challenging but our young people have demonstrated a determination not to let this pandemic put their lives on hold. Today, they have been awarded qualifications which reflect their hard work and will enable them to move forward confidently with their future plans.”
Received your GCSE results today? We want to hear from you
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the biggest shake-up to Britain’s education system in a generation. In an extraordinary U-turn, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed on Monday that A-level and GCSE results will now be based on teacher assessed grades, unless the algorithm grade is higher.
While the Prime Minister has insisted that he “still has confidence” in the Education Secretary, the lasting damage that this latest U-turn has inflicted on Conservative support from younger generations remains to be seen.
If you sat GCSEs this year, we want to hear from you. Tell us about your experience and let us know whether you are satisfied with your results.
GCSE Results Day 2020: Over a quarter of exams awarded top grades
Over a quarter of GCSEs were awarded top grades today, up from around a fifth last year as students across the country collected their results, our education editor Camilla Turner reports.
Today 27.5 per cent of GCSE handed to 16-year-olds in England were marked at 7 or above, equivalent to A or A*, compared to 21.8 per cent last year.
Almost four fifths (78.8 per cent) of results were handed pass marks, up from 69.9 per cent in 2019.
Over 950,000 students will receive their teachers’ predicted grades on Thursday – known as “centre assessed grades” or CAGs – rather than those calculated by an algorithm, after an about-turn by ministers earlier this week.
Education chiefs have warned that sixth forms may have to introduce aptitude tests to weed out weaker students in the wake of GCSE grade inflation.
A Level and GCSE results algorithm was ‘fair’ but applied ‘incorrectly’, minister says
Nick Gibb has defended the model that was initially used to assess this year’s exam grades as “fair” but said it was implemented incorrectly.
The education minister told the Today programme: “What was always at the forefront of my mind was that no young person from a disadvantaged background would see their grades standardised to a greater extent than other young people.
“There was about a two per cent difference, that’s broadly what we saw in the national results last week, in contrast to what we saw in Scotland, where there was a big gap between disadvantaged pupils.
“And that’s because in this country we had more data about the prior attainment of young people that was built into the model.
“So the model itself was fair, it was very popular, it was widely consulted upon – the problem arose in the way in which the three phases of the application of that model – the historic data of the school, the prior attainment of the cohort of pupils at the school, and then the national standard correction – it’s that element of the application of the model that I think there is a concern.”
BTEC results delayed as schools minister says he hopes they will be ‘next week’
The schools minister Nick Gibb has said he hopes BTEC students will get their results next week.
Asked when they will receive their grades, Mr Gibb told the BBC: “Well as soon as possible, but I hope next week.
“Pearson are working to correct and to review those grades and to reissue them.
“And we’re working closely with Ucas and the independent regulator and exam boards to make sure that no young person will be disadvantaged as a consequence of that delay.”
He added: “Having spoken to Pearson and all the exam boards yesterday, I believe that they will be delivered next week.”
Mr Gibb added it “certainly was foreseen” that private school pupils could benefit from the use of the algorithm which initially determined the results of the current cohort of A Level students.
The education minister told the BBC’s Today programme: “That certainly was foreseen because we knew that small cohorts had to rely more on the teacher-assessed grade than on the standardisation process, but that applied to the state sector as much as to the independent sector.”
The 9-1 GCSE grades system explained
Teenagers across Britain have been eagerly waiting for their GCSE results to pour in on Thursday after months of uncertainty thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, write Luke Mintz and Sophie Inge.
Since 2019, almost all GCSE results will use the new 9 – 1 grading scale which replaced the old A*-G system, with 9 being the highest grade. The recent system has been gradually phased in since 2017.
When it was first rolled out, the 9-1 grading system was only used in English Language, English Literature and Maths, but in 2018 its use was extended to 20 more subjects and for 2019 the scale was expanded to yet more GCSEs, including (but not limited to): Ancient History, Astronomy, Business, Classical Civilisation, Design and Technology, Economics, Electronics, Engineering, Media Studies, Modern Foreign Languages and Psychology.
The scale is a dramatic shift away from the A*- G system that students, parents, and teachers were familiar with for decades, but exam boards say it is “anchored” in the old A* – G system.
A-level and GCSE results update: how are 2020 grades being calculated without exams?
Whilst A-levels and GCSE results in 2020 were initially going to be weighted through an algorithm, on Monday Gavin Williamson U-turned and confirmed that A-levels and GCSEs will instead be teacher assessed.
The Education Secretary said he was “sorry for the distress this has caused”.
“We worked with Ofqual to construct the fairest possible model, but it is clear that the process of allocating grades has resulted in more significant inconsistencies than can be resolved through an appeals process,” he said.
The datasets that were to be used in the initial statistical model included:
- The exam results of students who took the same subject at the same school in 2017, 2018 and 2019
- Prior attainment data on students at the same school in 2017, 2018 and 2019
- Prior attainment data on this year’s students
The outcome of this statistical model was placed on top of the rank order which teachers submitted to exam boards. When drawing up the rank order, teachers ordered students then from best to worst for each subject.
Teachers were also asked to come up with a predicted grade for each student, based on their mock exams, tests, coursework and homework. For new schools which did not have historic data, as well as small schools or those in which low numbers of students are taking particular subjects, teachers’ predictions were to be the “primary source” of evidence for their grades this summer.
BTEC grades pulled hours before GCSE results day
Close to half a million pupils face fresh exam chaos today after an eleventh hour decision to withhold their results. Last night, with less than 24 hours to go until results day, the exam board Pearson told schools not to publish BTEC grades, saying they needed more time to recalculate them.
It is the latest exams fiasco and follows the A-level algorithm chaos last week which led to the Government’s U-turn on teachers’ predicted grades. The development will heap further pressure on Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, who was accused of “forgetting” about the 450,000 students who take vocational qualifications.
It has also been reported Mr Williamson was warned an algorithm used by Ofqual could lead to hundreds of thousands of students being awarded the wrong exam results – but decided to push ahead anyway.
GCSE results day 2020: A step-by-step guide on timings and what to expect
After months of anxious waiting, GCSE results day is finally here. For many pupils, this will be the most nerve-wracking day of their lives so far.
Have they got the grades they need for what they want to do next? What happens if they don’t? The important thing to remember is that there’s no need to panic. Whatever your situation, there is always an answer.
To prepare you for whatever happens, we have created a guide on everything you need to know about results day – including what to bring with you on the day, and how to get any papers remarked.
Sixth form head calls for extra A Levels funding in light of GCSE grades change
Anton McGrath, the principal of Ashton Sixth Form in Manchester, has told the Today programme that his institution was “oversubscribed even before the Covid situation”, and that they had already made arrangements for temporary accommodation to be put in place.
Mr McGrath said that “it was the right thing” for students to be getting their centrally assessed grades today following the Government’s u-turn, and added that he anticipated a large number of students wanting to start at Ashton in September.
We will always try to do our very best to accommodate students and make sure we can place them this year.
It starts today with the information, advice and guidance. It’s really important students are on the right course because they’re with us for two years, and we have to make sure that we work with individual students and provide that information for them.
It would be really handy for us if the Government managed to find some additional funding so we could put on the additional classes and we can take on the additional staff.