The day before A-Level results are due to be received by thousands of students, the English government has made a change.
This has been seen by many commenators as an attempt to avoid the embarrassing apology and retraction in the awarding of Scottish exam grades. The English government has made a change to the system they use to grade A-Levels as a way of making the process fairer.
In the previous system for Scotland and England students results were to be partly moderated depending on their school’s previous performance. This was seen by many as being completely unfair to students from more deprived backgrounds who are more likely to have attended schools with lower results averages. It would therefore be more likely that a student’s grade would be lowered if they had gone to a school with a poorer results record.
The new change in England means that if pupils get an estimated grade lower than they had received for a mock exam they can appeal. This would have to be put through by their school. The terms for approving appeals is still to be decided by the exam watchdog, Ofqual. This added element of Mocks has been called the ‘triple lock’ system. So in England results are now calculated based on teacher assessment, performance of their school previously and a process of appeal if a student’s mock exam result was higher than their awarded grade.
This has lead to a great deal of confusion amongst students and schools, especially as the results still take into account how a student’s school has performed in previous years.
Many teachers have pointed out that mocks often aren’t always an accurate measure of a student’s ability and teachers use them for different reasons. Sometimes mocks are deliberately marked harshly to help motivate and student and other schools may mark mocks leniently to help raise a pupils confidence.
This is how grades are to be decided across the UK:
England and Northern Ireland the key information for A-levels and GCSEs will be how pupils are ranked by their school and results in their schools and colleges in previous years. Plus a "triple lock" with the highest grade out of the estimated grade, an autumn written exam or a mock exam, dependent on a successful appeal through a school Vocational qualifications will have estimated results for some courses, but not the same "triple lock"
Scotland has switched to using teachers' predicted grades
Wales is using AS-levels as an important part of calculating A-level grades