Posted: Sat 15th Aug 2020

A-Level students in Wales CAN appeal downgraded results if they were lower than predicted by teachers

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Aug 15th, 2020


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Students in Wales will be able to appeal A-level grades on the grounds the ones they received on Thursday are lower than those assessed by teachers, the education minister has confirmed.

The clarification comes after education bosses and headteachers across region slammed the standardisation process adopted in Wales which saw 42% of A-level of students downgraded by exam officials.

Learners across the region received their grades on Thursday after their education was disrupted as schools were shut and exams cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a late announcement on Wednesday, the Welsh Government’s education minister Kirsty Williams revealed no students would be marked lower than their AS-level results.

It followed concerns being raised after Qualifications Wales said final grades were likely to be lower than those estimated by teachers, which the exams watchdog said were “too generous”.

Headteachers from across Flintshire and the wider North Wales region said in a statement they had been left “disappointed, confused and concerned after A-level results were downgraded.”

The Federation of North Wales Secondary Teachers said the “results have challenged our confidence in the system” after 42% of A-level grades in Wales were downgraded by exam officials.

A statement from the Federation said, “we cannot over-state how disappointed, confused and concerned we are about the A-level and AS results our young adults received on Thursday. Although the headline data for Wales shows slight improvement, this is not a full reflection of the reality in schools.

There are huge disparities in the outcomes of individuals which we cannot track, justify or explain. Pupils’ grades have moved up and down in ways we do not understand.”

The education minister said she accepts “that learners wanted and needed more clarity” over the appeals process.

Kirsty Williams issued a statement today, she said: “Earlier this week I directed Qualifications Wales to broaden the grounds for appeal for A levels, AS, Skills Challenge Certificate and GCSEs.

Today, they have now confirmed what this means for students. I accept that learners wanted and needed more clarity, and I believe this achieves that.

Qualification Wales and the WJEC will share the full details, but appeals can now be made where there is evidence of internal assessments that has been judged by the school or college to be at a higher grade than the grade they have been awarded.

There is a guarantee that no-one will receive a lower grade after appeal and all appeals are free.”

Qualifications Wales has said: “The Minister for Education asked us to consider this summer’s appeal process, taking into account changes by regulators in England and Northern Ireland.

This was with a view to ensuring that learners in Wales are not placed at a disadvantage in relation to learners in those other jurisdictions.

We have worked closely with WJEC [examination board] and considered the changes being introduced in England to find the best way forward for Welsh learners.

As a result, we are extending the grounds for appeal for this summer’s GCSE, AS and A levels, and the Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications.

An appeal can now be made on the grounds that there is evidence of internal assessment that has been judged by the school or college to be at a higher grade than the calculated grade awarded.

Internal assessment evidence will need to meet specific criteria, which is being finalised and will be published shortly.

If the appeal is successful, the learner’s grade will be revised to be the same as their internal assessment grade, but no higher than the Centre Assessment Grade submitted by the centre.

We are aware that some centres are concerned that the statistical standardisation model used to calculate the A level grades awarded, has not reflected the value added relationship that may exist at the centre between performance at AS and A level. We believe that this new ground for appeal will address this issue.

We can also offer assurance that all learners who are named in an appeal, whether they have provided consent or not, will not be at risk of having their grades lowered as a result of the appeal. Grades will only go up or remain the same as part of the appeals process.”

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