Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Erin Wilson
Features Writer
9:11 AM 18th August 2020

A Level U-Turn Chaos

In a time of crisis, we can rely on the government to be wholly unpredictable and offer no respite whatsoever.

This year saw almost 40% of A-Level grades marked down from the teachers’ predictions by an Ofqual algorithm.

Given the outcry over the past few days, it was to be expected that the government would announce a U-turn decision, and it did exactly that this afternoon.

Since the A-Level results were announced, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland have all followed suit and allowed for student’s grades to be based on teacher’s predictions rather than on an algorithm that is based on the school’s previous results.

Despite promising not to make a U-turn regarding the state of exam results, the chairman of Ofqual, Roger Taylor, has apologised and stated that grades would instead be based on the ‘centre assessment grades’ from teachers.

For many students, this announcement may offer little relief as many have already been rejected from their chosen universities based on their low grades.

However, it seems many universities are on a mission to reverse their decisions regarding acceptance, made only over the past few days, to allow for leniency towards students regarding today’s announcement.

Lancaster University has released a statement telling students that they will be advised on how to proceed following this recent announcement as its likely that this will lead to a re-thinking of university acceptance rates.

They also reassured that all those who had been accepted to Lancaster University through the Clearing process would retain their places.

Many questions have been raised over the government’s conduct over the past few days regarding grades. Today – why did it take so long to reverse the original decision?

Why was there an absence of a press conference or televised statement for an issue of such magnitude?
Given the shambolic handling of the delivery of grades system across the country, naturally there are calls for Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, to resign. Mr Williamson said in a statement:

"This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for young people who were unable to take their exams." With this statement ringing true now more than ever, why did the government choose to make a decision that would throw the future of so many young people into even more jeopardy?

Whilst this afternoon’s decision to allow A-Level grades to be based on teacher’s predictions has thrown the work of further education into chaos, it is a small mercy that those joining the world of university this year can breathe a sigh of relief.