Exam Results

nickyboy

Norven Mankey
I have to admit to this being a bit off my radar as I haven't got any family members in the exam system

It seems that the position now is that A-Level students can "pick" either the grade their teacher predicted they were going to achieve or the grade that the moderation system forecasted they would actually achieve

My issue is this; teachers always, on average, overpredict their students' grades. They do it for several reasons; to motivate their students, to get offers from better universities for their students. But, on average, the actual achieved grades are lower than the predicted ones.

I am not saying that the moderation methodology applied to convert "predicted" grades to "actual" grades was without fault. But surely allowing all this year's students to get, on average, better A Level grades than they would have actually achieved in an exam is a bad thing? The answer was a better moderation system, not throwing our hands up and saying that students can have better grades than they would actually have achieved as a political expedient. These grades follow you around for years to come. It prevents reasonable comparison between individuals from this academic year and other years

Please don't turn this into a Public v Private education argument. My question is are we better off with the (apparently) faulty moderation of grades, or no moderation at all?
 

Spinney

Bimbleur extraordinaire
Location
Under the Edge
But by now it is too late to develop a better moderation system. University places etc depend on grades.
Having wasted too much time reading news sites recently, it seems that bodies such as the Office for National Statistics* warned ages ago that the moderation algorithm wouldn't work fairly/as intended but were told to do one**.
A working moderation system would have been better, or a quick and robust already set up system for individuals to appeal (as opposed to appeals only to be allowed at school level).
Did they do a trial run on last year's results, I wonder, to see what effect it had? If so, did they bother to look at the differeing effects their algorithm had on different classes of FE establishment?
The whole thing (inc. the GCSEs) could have been done much more easily had Gove not decided that one exam at the end of two year's work was a fairer assessment method than coursework*** and modular exams. If modular courses had still been in place, this year's Year 11 cohort would have had 4 out of a possible 6 module results**** available on which to predict a final grade.

* It might not have been the ONS but some society for statistics or something. But a respected statistical body.
**perhaps not in those exact words
***no coursework in science at the moment, I understand, at least not in GCSE, but I don't know about other subjects
**** assuming a 6 module course

Then there's the fact that the government had at least a week's warning, so perhaps they should have thought about it when the shoot hit the fan in Scotland, instead of pointing and laughing at the Scottish education minister.

Waiting for Ruth Davison to demand the resignation of Williamson with the same fervour as she did for the SNP chap. Not holding my breath, though.

This government is surely world beating in the way they can fark up almost everything they touch.
 

DCLane

Found in the Yorkshire hills ...
My youngest gets his GCSE results on Thursday and we've had a letter today from the school about what he can do if he's not happy. His school will appeal on his behalf so he can have the mock grades instead. Or he can sit the exams.

In his case, attending a non fee-paying selective grammar, he'll probably be OK. But it's challenging for everyone.

For teachers they've had to rank pupils and give them the grades. The world of education has shifted and with helicopter parents who are never satisfied until their precious child gets the best grade the threat of legal action for being honest will have pressured some teachers to give over-generous grades. Being sued because you gave the pupil an E who deserved an E isn't something some teachers will want.

Many teachers will have been accurate with their grading. This reflects poorly on them. Some of my son's pupils cheated in their mocks, having got hold of the paper and shared it, but will get their 8 or 9 undeservedly. That's a pity. But most should, and I hope will, get a fair grade.

We'll find out on Thursday.
 

YukonBoy

The Monch
Location
Inside my skull
You never could compare years as the grade boundaries are always different each year. An A achieved this year might have fallen into the B grade range the previous year etc.
 

Jimidh

Veteran
Location
Midlothian
My own view is that whatever system we used was never going to be accurate but it should be as fair as possible to the kids that had no chance to sit the exams.

Although some kids might get slightly better results than they might otherwise have done by this U-turn by the government the current situation cannot be allowed to stand as it is clear that so many young adults have been unfairly marked down.

I think the only real backlash from this, other than the fact that it should have been done earlier, is from the middle class fee paying parents who don’t want the oiks getting a leg up like their kids get.

And I say this as a Father of a Scottish Higher Student who got 4As and a B before the Scottish U-Turn
 

marinyork

Resting in suspended Animation
Location
Logopolis
I don't think the u turn matters and is the right thing to do given the circumstances. Despite your obsession about teachers being generous my experiences of poor students are the reverse, so there are still losers.

Overall I find your comments a bit nuts. The coronavirus has fecked everything up and it's coronavirus that will screw up future job prospects of these students even those on dream courses.

If this year got a slight advantage with the u turn I think overall in life which is far more important, then they did not. Once in university no one cares about A-levels. They don't follow you for years. In 2020 the question is have you got a postgraduate master's and lots of experience.

The guidance on appeals is farcical.
 
OP
nickyboy

nickyboy

Norven Mankey
I don't think the u turn matters and is the right thing to do given the circumstances. Despite your obsession about teachers being generous my experiences of poor students are the reverse, so there are still losers.

Overall I find your comments a bit nuts. The coronavirus has fecked everything up and it's coronavirus that will screw up future job prospects of these students even those on dream courses.

If this year got a slight advantage with the u turn I think overall in life which is far more important, then they did not. Once in university no one cares about A-levels. They don't follow you for years. In 2020 the question is have you got a postgraduate master's and lots of experience.

The guidance on appeals is farcical.
I don't think I'm obsessive about teachers being generous. It's a fact that teachers, on average, over estimate student's future exam performance. The issue is whether it was better to allow a large cohort to have better A Level grades than they should have got. The political decision was that it was. It wasn't a decision based on logic. It was a sop to the kids and the kids' parents. I completely understand the realpolitik of this decision but I am disappointed that it happened

Thanks for the "nuts" comment btw, what with that and calling me obsessive I'd forgotten how welcoming this subforum was to those with other than the standard political view here
 

Julia9054

Guru
Location
Knaresborough
My issue is this; teachers always, on average, overpredict their students' grades. They do it for several reasons; to motivate their students, to get offers from better universities for their students. But, on average, the actual achieved grades are lower than the predicted ones.
In a normal year, I would agree with you. This year, however, schools have had strict criteria to adhere to to come up with the centre assessed grade. We have needed evidence in the form of past achievements on mocks and other tests and in each subject, we have had to rank all the students. This has taken a huge amount of time and effort by teachers and leaders. Centre assessed grades are therefore not comparable with predicted grades from previous years.
Of course, what centre assessed grades do is assume that every student on the day would have performed to the best of their ability. In real life, this is never the case but as we cannot predict which students will have a bad day, we have no other choice and centre assessed grades - for that school - will show grade inflation.
Statistical models are good at predicting what will happen with large groups of people and absolutely useless at predicting what will happen to an individual.
 

Beebo

Firm and Fruity
Location
Hexleybeef
The algorithm clearly favoured Pupils from private schools and disadvantaged the poorest.

The grade inflation is crazy this year and some pupils will have benefitted. But I would rather this than having poor students lose out.
 
OP
nickyboy

nickyboy

Norven Mankey
The algorithm clearly favoured Pupils from private schools and disadvantaged the poorest.

The grade inflation is crazy this year and some pupils will have benefitted. But I would rather this than having poor students lose out.
Of course another happy side effect of the crazy grade inflation is that universities will have more UK students to help make up the shortfall of International students. I suspect the universities' comments saying what a good decision the government made today are not entirely altruistic in nature
 
In a normal year, I would agree with you. This year, however, schools have had strict criteria to adhere to to come up with the centre assessed grade. We have needed evidence in the form of past achievements on mocks and other tests and in each subject, we have had to rank all the students. This has taken a huge amount of time and effort by teachers and leaders. Centre assessed grades are therefore not comparable with predicted grades from previous years.
Of course, what centre assessed grades do is assume that every student on the day would have performed to the best of their ability. In real life, this is never the case but as we cannot predict which students will have a bad day, we have no other choice and centre assessed grades - for that school - will show grade inflation.
Statistical models are good at predicting what will happen with large groups of people and absolutely useless at predicting what will happen to an individual.
Exactly.

At least the teacher assessment is based upon knowledge and experience of the pupils concerned.

This moderation algorithm might be fine at coming up with an assessment of the average rates throughout the country but it is random and not fit for purpose for individual students.

Damage has already been caused by many students losing their first or second university preferences a nd there is no benefit at all to retaining this system.

Surely Williamson cannot retain his job now, even in this pathetic government.
 
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fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
It was always going to be a mess unfortunately and students unhappy. Our Uni has been more flexible with these results but we know full well this cohort might not be upto the usual standards, especially not having been in Education for six months, so we are putting in more time and staff for student support.
 

Julia9054

Guru
Location
Knaresborough
Centre assessed grades had to be submitted by the end of May - a similar time frame (a little earlier) than the end of sitting the exams would have been.
In a normal year, it takes 3 months to mark, moderate, set grade boundaries and generate results.
This year, I have heard that the algorithm they were going to use was already developed by the time that schools submitted their CAGs therefore they have known for almost 3 months what grades they were going to award
They should have been spending 3 months going backwards and forwards to schools to check individual results. They should have checked the top 10%, the bottom 10% and any student who’s grade was more than one grade different from their CAG.
With GCSE, they should have been asking schools to check any students on the grade 3/4 boundary, the grade 5/6 and possibly the 6/7 boundary.
They have been sitting on this for nearly 3 months. It’s a complete shambles
 
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