Appeal process for A-level, AS level and GCSE students to change after thousands disappointed by results

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The body responsible for regulating qualifications in Wales has changed its appeal process after thousands of A-level and AS level students received grades lower than predicted.

There was controversy on A-level results day on Thursday when more than four in ten grades handed out in Wales were lower than teachers had recommended.

Angry teachers, parents and students were left distraught and claimed a fairer system should have been implemented to replace exams cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Qualifications Wales used a “standardisation” process to adjust the Centre Assessed Grade given by teachers which used an algorithm. This used measures including the past performance of schools and school years.

Some headteachers believe this system is controversial because it puts higher achieving students at historically lower achieving schools at a disadvantage.

The regulator said it is now “extending the grounds for appeal” for this summer’s results.

In a statement released on Saturday, Qualifications Wales said it had been requested to change its appeal process by Kirsty Williams, Wales’ Minister for Education, in line with regulators in England and Northern Ireland.

It said: “This was with a view to ensuring that learners in Wales are not placed at a disadvantage in relation to learners in those other jurisdictions.

“We have worked closely with WJEC and considered the changes being introduced in England to find the best way forward for Welsh learners. As a result, we are extending the grounds for appeal for this summer’s GCSE, AS and A levels, and the Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications.”

The regulating body said an appeal can be made on the grounds that internal assessment of a grade has been judged by a school or college to be higher than the calculated grade awarded.

It added: “If the appeal is successful, the learner’s grade will be revised to be the same as their internal assessment grade, but no higher than the Centre Assessment Grade submitted by the centre.

“We are aware that some centres are concerned that the statistical standardisation model used to calculate the A level grades awarded on Thursday, has not reflected the value added relationship that may exist at the centre between performance at AS and A level. We believe that this new ground for appeal will address this issue.

“WJEC will provide further details on the process to submit appeals which will be available early next week.”

“We can also offer assurance that all learners who are named in an appeal, whether they have provided consent or not, will not be at risk of having their grades lowered as a result of the appeal. Grades will only go up or remain the same as part of the appeals process.”

Ms Williams said: “Earlier this week I directed Qualifications Wales to broaden the grounds for appeal for A levels, AS, Skills Challenge Certificate and GCSEs.

“Today, they have now confirmed what this means for students. I accept that learners wanted and needed more clarity, and I believe this achieves that.

“Qualification Wales and the WJEC will share the full details, but appeals can now be made where there is evidence of internal assessments that has been judged by the school or college to be at a higher grade than the grade they have been awarded.

“There is a guarantee that no-one will receive a lower grade after appeal and all appeals are free.”

The debacle across the border has led to all results for Highers in Scotland reverting to teacher assessed grades and England declaring no student there will get a final A level grade lower than those they got in mock exams.

Have you received your A-level or AS level results? What did you think of the process? Leave your comments about A-level results day below.



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