“Panicked & chaotic” – ASCL, Head teachers Union
“Makes a mockery of exams” – National Union of students
“Knee jerk panic reaction” – Parent
“Never in recent memory have we been faced with such uncertainty and challenge on the eve of A-level and BTec results day,” – Anja Hazebroek from the University of Hull.
It didn’t have to be like this. The Government and Dfe have had months to work out a system for results. It was never going to be perfect, it was never going to be completely fair but to introduce such a change this late in the day, the day before A-level students are to collect results seems absurd even for this Government. There was little mention of mocks (or Pre-Public examinations) in the guidance to teachers to work out centre assessed grades in April but they could now be vital.
It appears a panicked reaction to events in Scotland, whose Government have now gone back to taking the teacher assessed grade. In Wales they still have AS-levels so can base grades largely on those. So we now have the potential for 3 different countries in the UK having 3 different systems to get to exam results: one from teachers, one from AS grades and one from mocks. Maybe if Michael Gove had not been so determined to get rid of AS-levels and coursework in subjects, we wouldn’t be in such a bad position.
Using mocks throws up so many issues. School’s will do them at different times of year, some may not have done them by lockdown, some teachers mark harshly to push those students to work harder, some mark leniently to boost confidence, some will do full papers, some will do AS papers, the list is almost endless. The Government have now said that Ofqal (the exams regulator) will not now how this appeal process will work until next week, even more uncertainty for students. This then links to the Universities- How will they decide on allocations? Will courses still start in the Autumn? When will they know student results?
In the short-term students will need more support than ever, if University is the chosen path they have been asked to be flexible and it is likely to be a buyers’ market, students are likely to be able to get into many Uni’s even if they didn’t quite get awarded the grade. Schools will know what to do so should be contacted in the first instance. In Reading our careers service Elevate will be on hand to speak with students on 07929 178133 from 9am -5pm on both results days, and the following Fridays or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. and Live Chat on the Brighter Futures website. Whether it’s a job, apprenticeship, college course, training, internship or University, there will always be a way to get to it. These extraordinary A-level results are just a step and one that will be overcome.