Posted: Mon 17th Aug 2020

Welsh Government U-turn on A Level results – students will now get predicted grades along with GCSE students

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Aug 17th, 2020

A Level students across Wales are to receive their predicted grades following a Welsh Government u-turn this afternoon.

It comes after criticism from students, teachers, education leaders and opposition parties over the standardisation process which saw 42 per cent of A-level results downgraded.

A late announcement just 24 hours before exam results were published saw Education Minister Kirsty Williams guarantee that no student in Wales would be marked lower than their AS-level results.

The minister also announced that the appeals process for  GCSE, AS and A levels, and the Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications would be free.

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”.

However today north Wales education leaders today announced that they have “no confidence” in the standardisation of results and fear that the upcoming GCSE results will mirror A-Level chaos.

In a statement the regional school improvement body GwE and secondary headteachers said it was “becoming more evident that there is significant discrepancy between grades awarded by WJEC and Centre Assessment Grades.”

It adds that some schools have seen “70% of their grades have been downgraded without any contact from the examining body or regulator.”

Opposition parties, along with some Labour backbenchers, have also called for ministers to use predicted grades for both A Level and for Thursday’s GCSE results.

In a Welsh Government u-turn this afternoon it was confirmed that the standardisation of grades would not apply for A Level results or GCSEs.

The statement is in full below:

A level, AS, GCSE, Skills Challenge Certificate and Welsh Baccalaureate grades in Wales will now be awarded on the basis of Centre Assessment Grades, Education Minister Kirsty Williams confirmed today.

The Minister said: “Working with Qualifications Wales and WJEC we have sought an approach which provides fairness and balances out differences in the standards applied to judgments in schools.

“Given decisions elsewhere, the balance of fairness now lies with awarding Centre Assessment grades to students, despite the strengths of the system in Wales.

“I am taking this decision now ahead of results being released this week, so that there is time for the necessary work to take place.

“For grades issued last week, I have decided that all awards in Wales, will also be made on the basis of teacher assessment.

“For those young people, for whom our system produced higher grades than those predicted by teachers, the higher grades will stand.

“Maintaining standards is not new for 2020, it is a feature of awarding qualifications every year in Wales, and across the UK.

“However, it is clear that maintaining confidence in our qualifications whilst being fair to students requires this difficult decision.

“These have been exceptional circumstances, and in due course I will be making a further statement on an independent review of events following the cancellation of this year’s exams.

“Other Awarding Bodies across the UK are involved in determining the approach to vocational qualifications. This continues to be the case but it is important that I give assurance to GCSE, AS and A level student at the earliest opportunity.”

Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister Sian Gwenllian MS said,

 “This is a very welcome if not a seriously overdue announcement.

 “Pressure from Plaid Cymru, students, teachers and parents will now mean that our young people will have the grades they should have been awarded all along. The real victory belongs to the young people of Wales who have demonstrated better leadership and decorum than their government.

 “Whilst it is regretful that this U-turn have come last week instead of putting students through so much unnecessary uncertainty and anxiety, I offer my congratulations to the young people who have led this campaign so ably.

 “There should be a full investigation into this debacle and the Welsh Government should apologise to students, teachers and schools for what they’ve put them through over the past few weeks.

 “Never again should the professionalism and integrity of our teachers and the hard work of our students be called into question. For today, let us celebrate that justice has prevailed.

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