In a latest development, the U.K government has issued an apology to its students, taking a significant U-turn by allowing teacher assessed grades to be counted. The following apology came, after protests ensued regarding the unfair scoring of the students.
Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic, educational institutions were hard pressed to find viable solutions for students to receive a holistic educational experience. The following idea was unfortunately highlighted further as many universities didn’t budge on the pre-pandemic tuition they were charging the students, even though the students could not attend any in-person classes. The distrust between students and educational institutions has intensified during the pandemic, however the events of 13th August rapidly escalated the brewing tensions amongst academia and the students.
The A-Levels, along with notable examinations such as the International Baccalaureate Exams, were cancelled due to the Pandemic. Thus, the examining body of A-Levels, 'Ofqual' resorted to establish a definitive result through a proprietary algorithm. The algorithm took into account the students predicted marks, which were indicative through a student's performance in the “mock exams” and also took into account the school's past examination performances.
However, many students were left surprised and shocked on results day, as many believed they were scored below their calibre. Quickly, the main point of contention amongst students was Ofqual’s decision to take the school's past examination performances into account. The following decision predicated that students from higher scoring schools would comparatively score better than students who were taught in lower scoring schools. Thus, the gross misinterpretation of students calibre represented in a certain type of school, muddled the waters for anxious students, whose University admissions hinge on these results.
Protests ensued in cities across the U.K as students who came from disadvantaged backgrounds, had their efforts discredited by the examining body. The protest also ignited the dialogue on Posh vs Commoners and the invisible elitism of education in the U.K. The algorithms and its architects flaws were illustrated further, as a review stated 40 percent of the students were given a lower grade than their efforts in Internal examinations. The following result affected close to 280,000 students.
Consequentially, the U.K government has backtracked on the decision of Ofqual and allowed schools to release results, based on the teachers premonition and understanding of its students. Mr Gavin Williamson, Secretary of Education stated “the process of allocating grades has resulted in more significant inconsistencies than can be resolved through an appeals process”. The U.K government has also contacted universities and asked them to admit more students than their intake.