Computers will help decide GCSE & A Level grades this year as teachers predictions ‘too generous’

COMPUTER models will help decide kids’ GCSE and A Level grades this summer after it was revealed that teachers’ predictions were too generous.

Exams regulator Ofqual confirmed that statistical models will play a part in helping moderate results for pupils who won’t be sitting their exams this summer due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Grades will be decided by a mixture of teachers' assessments and computer models


Grades will be decided by a mixture of teachers’ assessments and computer models

Previously teachers were due to use previous coursework, mock exams and their performance so far to give a grade.

But they revealed last week that teachers were grading pupils on average 12 percentage points higher than last year’s actual GCSE grades, and nine points higher than the GCSE ones.

The regulator won’t say exactly how the grades will be calculated in case it gives some students an unfair advantage.

However, they admitted that some pupils in classes where it’s not possible to use computer models – such as less popular subjects – will have their grades decided solely by teachers.

Grades are still set to be slightly higher than last year, and Ofqual has promised that no children will be penalised by the system.

Kids are due to receive their grades in August as usual.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “This was always going to be a problematic year. There will be people who think the system isn’t fair this year, but the reality is that Covid isn’t fair.”

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A DfE spokesman said:  “The vast majority of students will receive a calculated grade this summer that enables them to move on to the next stage of their education or training.

“Ofqual has developed a robust process that will take into account a range of evidence, including grades submitted by schools and colleges, with the primary aim of ensuring grades are as fair as possible for all students.”

Most kids still haven't returned to the classrooms since lockdown


Most kids still haven’t returned to the classrooms since lockdownCredit: Alamy

An Ofqual spokesperson said: “We know teachers worked extremely hard to deliver this year’s arrangements and final grades this summer will be calculated using both centre assessment grades and a rank order of students provided by the centre.

“It is not true to say the centre assessment grades are not being used – they are an important component of this year’s arrangements and have assisted centres when developing their rank orders.

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They have been instrumental during testing to identify the fairest process, and are being used to quality assure the outputs. Centre assessment grades are the primary source of evidence to calculate grades for low entry subjects, small centres and those lacking historical data.

“From the data that we have reviewed, we expect the majority of grades students receive will be the same as their centre assessment grades, reflecting the skills, professionalism and integrity of those involved.”

Any student unable to receive a calculated grade, or who would like to improve their grade will have an opportunity to take exams again in the autumn.

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