Minister reassures students over A-level results

Education Minister Kirsty Williams. Picture by the Welsh Government

Education Minister Kirsty Williams has announced that A-level students in Wales will receive grades that will be no lower than those they achieved at AS-level last year.

If a student gets a grade on Thursday, when results are released, below their AS grade a revised one will be issued automatically.

The minister also confirmed that all appeals will be free for Welsh students, to ensure there is no financial barrier to ensure students feel their exam grades are fair.

Last week Qualifications Wales warned Wales’ schools were too generous assessing GCSE and A-level grades in the absence of exams due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pupils in England, who also get their results on Thursday, have been told their final results will be no lower than their mock exams while the Scottish government announced yesterday that all pupils would get the grades predicted by teachers as more than 124,000 exam results, were downgraded last week, causing a political storm.

“I am confident that the system overseen by Qualifications Wales (QW) and WJEC, in response to the current emergency, is fair for students and robust in what it measures and signals to employers and universities, Ms Williams said.

“However, governments in other parts of the United Kingdom have introduced changes to their systems and we must make sure that these alterations do not disadvantage Welsh students.

“Students in Wales, and prospective employers and universities across the UK, can be assured that their A Level grades reflect their work and externally assessed exams.”

Plaid Cymru Shadow Education Minister Sian Gwenllian MS said: “This eleventh hour U-turn by the minister is an admission that the system was flawed from the off.

 “The Welsh Government will be marked down severely for leaving teachers and pupils in limbo – and their hard work, initially, unrewarded.

 “It is welcome that the minister has listened to Plaid Cymru calls for a free and independent appeals process.

“This will give some comfort to those pupils who have been let down in what was already a time of unprecedented anxiety.”

Welcoming the announcement Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Education, Suzy Davies MS, said: “What has been absolutely crucial is to ensure there is a fair system for grading our young people on their A-level results.

“It was vital to see a safety net being implemented in Wales to make sure pupils achieved the grade they had worked towards. So tomorrow, I am pleased that pupils’ final grades are guaranteed to not be lower than their previous grade at AS level.”

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