Lancashire's college bosses unite to call for Ofqual algorithm to be overridden to give students the A Levels they deserve

College bosses are calling for for the algorithm used to moderate A Level grades to be overridden and want a guarantee that no Centre Assessed Grade will be downgraded by more than one grade.

Monday, 17th August 2020, 2:02 pm
Updated Monday, 17th August 2020, 2:06 pm
Students wearing face masks take part in a protest in Westminster in London over the government's handling of A-level results, university provision and bleak employment prospects.. Photo credit : Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Lancashire's college leaders are supporting the demands put to the Government by the Association of Colleges, which wants an end to the fiasco that has left the sector in turmoil.

The college leaders have set out at three-step plans to ensure the grades are as fair and equitable as possible, including working woth colleges to a to undertake a short technical review of the grades awarded in every college and school where the results are unfair nad establish a task force, with independent observers, tasked with the aim of achieving results which:

a) give equivalent increases in higher grades for large cohorts to that experienced by small cohorts;

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b) ensure that results in every college and school are at least as good as last year;

c) guarantee that no Centre Assessed Grade will be reduced by more than one grade.

The AoC statement says: " The original aim of the approach Ofqual put in place was to retain confidence in the results. That has not been achieved.

"Now the explicit aim should be fairness for every student. To regain public trust in the education system, the Education Secretary must be clear that there was unwanted systemic bias in the approach to A Level grading and that this is an unacceptable outcome of an imperfect system in an exceptional year.

"He needs to acknowledge that this worked against colleges with large numbers of students – and favoured those with smaller numbers who have faced less adjustment. The approach has worked for many, but for tens of thousands it has not and that is unacceptable."

It goes on: " Too many have ended up with worse grades than they would have achieved. He must now put their interests to the forefront even where it means that some students will have results that are slightly better than they probably would have achieved.

"This can be achieved by ensuring that college and school results are at least as good as last year and guarantee that no Centre Assessed Grade will be reduced by more than one grade."

Chief Executive of Association of Colleges, David Hughes said: "The system has failed thousands of young people, through an imperfect system in an impossible situation. To rectify the chaos and disappointment so many find themselves in, the Education Secretary needs to give students a leg-up rather than punishing them by sticking to a failing algorithm.

"In practice it would mean allowing students to at most achieve one grade more than they might have achieved. There would be slightly more grade inflation than the Ofqual model produced, but not much more. There is still time to salvage this and protect the futures of thousands of young people who stand to lose out through no fault of their own. But the Education Secretary must act now.”

But the college leaders are also worried that any delay to the publication of GCSE results, due out on Thursday, will have serious implications, both for allotting student to courses and delays to their study time given that enrolment usually starts on results day.

One group. Nelson and Colne, has already announced that it will accept teacher GCSE assessments from any youngsters applying for the place.