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A-levels 2020: Norfolk students should be ‘confident’ of fair grades

PUBLISHED: 14:00 10 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:36 10 August 2020

Instead of exams, A-level students will be awarded a calculated grade. Picture: Getty Images

Instead of exams, A-level students will be awarded a calculated grade. Picture: Getty Images

Archant

Students in Norfolk should be confident their A-level grades will be fair following a “rigorous, robust and intensive” assessment process, a college leader has said.

City College Norwich, principal Corrienne Peasgood OBE. Picture: Nick ButcherCity College Norwich, principal Corrienne Peasgood OBE. Picture: Nick Butcher

With university and higher education places at stake, pupils across the county will receive their A-level results this week.

Exams were cancelled because of the pandemic meaning pupils’ grades have been calculated on the basis of teachers’ estimates, pupil’s past attainment, combined with a statistical model based on past results at the school.

MORE: When are A-level results published, how do grades work? Norfolk student questions answered

Exam boards have moderated the grades to ensure this year’s results are not significantly higher and the value of students’ grades are not undermined.

A-level results are vital for students university and higher education places. Picture: Getty ImagesA-level results are vital for students university and higher education places. Picture: Getty Images

City College Norwich principal Corrienne Peasgood said the process had been ‘rigorous’ and students should be confident their grades will be fair.

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She said: “Whilst the grading process has obviously been very different this year, I have seen first-hand just what a rigorous, robust, and intensive process it has been.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson. PIcture: PA ImagesEducation secretary Gavin Williamson. PIcture: PA Images

“The professional judgement of teachers, who are ultimately best-placed to evaluate each student, has been backed up by all the available evidence on their performance throughout their course – and these judgements have then been subject to a thorough process of checking and verification.

“This is the basis on which everyone can be confident that the grades being awarded this year are just as valid as those from any other year. Crucially, they will be treated as such by universities, colleges, and employers.”

Schools are braced for possible backlash from students and their parents over lower than expected grades.

It comes after outrage in Scotland last week where the grade moderation process reduced the pass rate of the poorest pupils by more than twice that of the richest.

MORE: Will A-level exam changes hit student university place plans?

England’s exams regulator Ofqual has now said schools and colleges can appeal if they can prove that historical data used to standardise grades is not a reliable indicator of results due to a change of circumstances.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “It is vital that students with exceptional circumstances are not held back by the way grades have been calculated - including those who are highly talented in schools that have not in the past had strong results, or where schools have undergone significant changes such as a new leadership team.”


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