Commenting on yesterday’s decision to accept teachers’ grading of ‘A’ level students, Michael Fabricant says: “This should have happened sooner. It has caused considerable distress to students and their families.
“While I recognise and accept that Ofqual has said that university selectors are not content with teachers grading their own students because a minority of schools submit “implausibly high predicted grades” – indeed, that is why we have to have exams in the first place in order to achieve a more accurate measure of A level performance – it has become clear that the algorithm used by Ofqual was seriously flawed. No alternative to examination can be perfect, but Ofqual’s algorithm just did not work.
“Questions now need to be asked.
“Did Ofqual test their algorithm against previous years’ data and how did that compare against actual grades for A level exams? Why did it take so long for Ofqual and the Department for Education to accept that the algorithm was faulty? And will all universities now accept teacher-only assessments? 2020 is an exceptional year so I hope that they will.
“I have now told ministers that GCSE results should be taken solely on teacher assessment and not use an algorithm. They have agreed. Grade inflation will inevitably occur, but this is just one of the costs of this global pandemic.
“I hope that we will be able to return to examinations as the true measure of A level ability in 2021. However, I am aware that some schools have been better than others at distance learning while schools have been closed, so this will have to be taken into account too next year.
“Long after we have a vaccine and the pandemic is over, the effects of Covid will rumble on.”