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Scotland-style backlash on the cards in Wales as many students set to get lower than recommended grades

07 Aug 2020 2 minute read
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Thousands of students in Wales will get lower exam results than their teaches recommended because schools were too generous, Qualifications Wales has said.

If followers a political falling-out in Scotland after a quarter of grades were revised downwards there.

Scottish Labour’s education spokesperson Iain Gray had accused the Scottish Qualifications Authority of treating teachers’ professional judgement “with contempt” in adjusting grades down.

But the Labour Government in Wales could face a similar scenario after Wales’ schools were too generous assessing GCSE and A-level grades in the absence of exams.

Qualifications Wales has said that nearly one in four students (25%) would have received an A* or A in their GCSE results if they had accepted the Centre Assessment Grades grades recommended by teachers.

That compares to only 17.9% of pupils in 2019.

At A-level, 40.4% achieved A*s and As recommended by teachers when last year only 27% achieved those grades through exams.

But some students will receive higher-than-expected grades where teachers had been too harsh, Qualification Wales said.

Teenagers will receive their A level results on Thursday, August 13, and the GCSE results will be published the following Thursday, August 20.



‘Not a criticism’

Qualifications Wales Chief Executive Philip Blaker said that changes of the magnitude seen in the teacher’s grades were unprecedented and unchecked would not be credible.

“They would also be at odds with our aim that results this year at a national level are broadly similar to previous years – something that most people agreed with when we consulted on our aims,” he said.

“On the whole CAGs were generous and there was also evidence of inconsistency between exam centres.

“This is in no way a criticism of teachers as there was no opportunity amid the pandemic to train them. Wales is no different to many other nations where this year has required a shift from externally assessed exams to calculating grades.

“Our analysis shows a clear difference between CAGs and exam results in previous years highlighting the need for standardisation to secure fairness for learners.”

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