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Ofqual Board members "want to drop their own A-level algorithm"


Some Ofqual board members want to get rid of their own controversial A-level algorithm after nearly 40 percent of grades have been downgraded by the system.

Critics have complained about the algorithm used by Ofqual students in schools in deprived areas, while benefiting those in private schools.

Some board members now believe the algorithm has caused a "bleeding" of public confidence in the results, and a return to teacher ratings – as the Scottish government had done – may be the "least bad option".

Professor Tina Isaacs, who sits on Ofqual's advisory group, has blamed the government for the exams fiasco, warning that on Thursday, if the GCSE results are due to be released, there could be "another wave" of grades does not correspond to the specified by teachers.

Ofqual's job is to run government policy. And if the guidelines change every 12 to 24 hours, Ofqual needs to deal with it as best as possible, ”she told BBC Breakfast.

"Hence the changes to the appeal process that Ofqual has now taken off the board so that it can think about it as much as possible given the time frame."

School principals have also criticized the algorithm, while a new analysis found that grades awarded to sixth-grade colleges this year fell below the average for the past three years in England

Dr. Mark Fenton, executive director of the Grammar School Heads Association, told the BBC that "a great injustice has been committed" with "extremely confusing" results for some students.

High school graduates protest in the Ministry of Education against the result fiasco

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has come under fire for the government's A-level algorithm – even criticized by some Ofqual board members

Young protesters have raised banners and placards with pictures of Gavin Williamson calling for the Secretary of Education to be sacked in Parliament Square in central London yesterday

Young protesters have raised banners and placards with pictures of Gavin Williamson demanding that the Secretary of Education be sacked in Parliament Square in central London yesterday

He said the "only fair result" would be to use teacher-recommended grades and remove the 5% limit on additional study places in England.

According to the BBC, research by the Sixth Form Colleges Association has found this year's A-level sixth grade grades in England are below the average for the past three years – in some cases 20% lower than similar historical achievement.

The GCSE results are due to be released this week. The government algorithm is used to compute millions of outcomes, leading to fears that the A-level crisis could repeat itself on an even larger scale.

Schoolchildren in Northern Ireland will receive the grades their teachers predict, Stormont's minister of education has announced.

Will GCSE results be TWO WEEKS delayed? Top Tories urge Boris Johnson to postpone the markings due this Thursday

Boris Johnson faced calls last night to delay this week's GCSE results as the exam fiasco worsened.

He's growing his own party's anger over the "big mess" that surrounds the A-Level scores of millions of teenagers.

Lord Baker, who introduced the GCSE system, said Thursday's announcement of the results should be delayed for two weeks to allow grades to be revised.

It is feared that millions of students could downgrade their scores through a government algorithm used to award grades after exams are canceled due to coronavirus.

Lord Baker described the algorithm as flawed and accused ministers of presiding over a system that had already produced "hundreds of thousands of unfair and barely explainable downgrades".

He added, "If you're in a hole, stop digging."

Robert Halfon, chairman of the Commons Education Committee, also admitted that a delay might be necessary.

"Unless they have fair grievances and Ofqual does not make it clear that their model does not unfairly disadvantage, this may be a path for them to consider," said the Conservative MP.

Just a few days before the results were published on Thursday, Peter Weir discarded a plan in which the grades would have been calculated using a mathematical model that takes into account the previous performance of the schools.

However, the plan to use a mathematical model remains the same in the UK, despite the excitement caused by using a high school graduation algorithm.

Boris Johnson is now under pressure to step in to end the deepening A-Level crisis in England amid mounting anger among students and teachers and warnings of riot among Tory MPs.

Ofqual member Professor Isaacs said the government and regulator Ofqual will have to regain public confidence after graduation day.

"Right now the public is losing confidence in the system," she told BBC Breakfast.

“And it's up to Ofqual, who I know works very hard. It is up to Ofqual, and especially the government, to try to create something that reclaims some of that public trust.

"I'm afraid it won't be able to get it all back."

When asked if she was concerned that Thursday's GCSE Results Day could lead to a deterioration in public confidence, she replied, "I am very concerned indeed."

Union leader Sir Keir Starmer urged the Prime Minister to take "personal responsibility" for resolving the problem, accusing him of being "invisible" during the turmoil.

Conservative former Education Secretary Lord Baker von Dorking urged ministers to postpone the release of GCSE results, due this week, until issues with high school graduation are resolved.

Lord Baker, who introduced the GCSE system, said Thursday's announcement of the results should be delayed for two weeks to allow grades to be revised.

Caroline Nokes, chairwoman of the women's and gender equality selection committee, was the youngest Tory MP to criticize the government's handling of the A-level crisis and suggest they could even conduct an investigation.

She tweeted that the algorithm problems "only affected young people and of course age is a protected characteristic," adding that, as chair of the committee, she would "support" any request.

Labor shadow education secretary Kate Green said the situation regarding A-level results was "shameful" and urged the government to "go the extra mile" to protect the future of young people.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain this morning, Ms Green said universities should "be flexible to cope with the horrors these young people are going through through no fault of their own".

She added: “At the same time, we know that universities have, or certainly did, at the time the A-level results were published, also because the government has made it so much harder for international students to come to the UK .

“But you have to know, you need planning time. And of course universities can't wait forever.

“These places are filling up now and the government just needs to be absolutely clear on what basis the results are given to high school graduates, what grades they received. It has to be fair to these young people and then universities can fill in the places that still exist and students can get on with their lives. & # 39;

Students called for "Justice for State Schools" amid the ongoing battle over the zip code lottery to get a good grade

Students called for "Justice for State Schools" amid the ongoing battle over the zip code lottery to get a good grade

Ms. Green said the government "never really put young people first".

She told GMB, "I think it's important that we give these young people the best opportunities in life and use the teacher grades this year."

When asked if GCSE results day should be postponed, Ms. Green told BBC Radio 4's Today program, “The government needs to move forward, tell us what they are doing and tell us when to give us the absolute the certainty that this algorithm is reliable, or that they have found an alternative way of evaluating students that is reliable and that this cannot be dragged on – these young people are dying to know about their future. & # 39;

When she allowed students to get their teacher graded grades, she added, “I realize it's not perfect. You can of course back this up with a calling system that may include looking at the bogus results when they are available and when they are perceived to be robust.

& # 39; I think under these exceptional circumstances that these students are this year, the fact that their education has already been so disrupted, we have said that teacher graded grades will be the basis of the A-level scores should.

"If there is no other fair way of determining GCSE results, we need to look into that and keep that option on the table for you as well."

Mr Johnson was expected to be on a camping holiday in Scotland this week with his fiancée Carrie Symonds and young son Wilfred.

Protesters take part in a peaceful demonstration in Parliament Square in central London in response to Thursday's A-Level scores being downgraded

The final demand of today's protest was: "All universities should keep more offers and allow time to complete the appointment process."

The final demand of today's protest was: "All universities should keep more offers and allow time to complete the appointment process."

As Labor called for a press conference to be held to explain how it would remedy the "historical injustice" of students whose grades had been recorded, Downing Street could not say whether the trip would continue.

The Ministry of Education (DfE) has stated that it will continue to work with the regulator Ofqual to “build as much fairness into the appeal process as possible” in order to deal with what it calls “toughest cases”.

"Ofqual continues to consider how best to implement the appeal process to give schools and students the clarity they need," a DfE spokesman said in a statement released late Sunday.

However, the Examination Board's decision to develop guidelines over the weekend for students using mock exam results as a basis for an appeal was not supported by the decision not to withdraw them until hours later.

No explanation was given for the move, although Labor said it undermined student assurances by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson regarding the appeal process.

Mr. Williamson made a "triple lock" commitment last week that students can get the highest score from their teacher's predicted grade, their mock exam, or an actual fall exam.

But the Ofqual guidance said if the bogus score was higher than the teacher's prediction, the teacher's prediction would count.

In another setback for the education minister, some Ofqual members have now also called for the algorithm to be dropped.

Posters reading "Give me my grades back" and "Downgrade Williamson, not students" were waved as students and parents unpacked Parliament Square

"Give me back my grades" and "demote Williamson, not students" posters were waved as students and parents unpacked Parliament Square

London protesters modeled in Edinburgh and Cardiff (pictured) called on the government to "recognize the disproportionate nature of grades in deprived areas and their detrimental effects on society".

London protesters modeled in Edinburgh and Cardiff (pictured) urged the government to "recognize the disproportionate nature of grades in deprived areas and their detrimental effects on society".

A protester stands with her self-made sign with a picture of the Prime Minister, branding him a "classic" and saying: "Britain deserves better"

A protester stands with her self-made sign with a picture of the Prime Minister, branding him a "classic" and saying: "Britain deserves better"

Mr Williamson has consistently argued that moderation is essential to preventing "rampant inflation" after the actual exams in the coronavirus crisis were canceled, and has insisted that there can be no turnaround.

However, critics have complained that Ofqual's algorithm for the adjustments penalized students in schools in deprived areas and benefited those in private schools.

These concerns should strengthen the hands of teaching unions, who are pushing for teacher evaluation as the only fair way to go.

Overall, nearly 40% of all A-Level grades in England have been lowered as a result of the standardization process, and ministers are now ready for further backlash when the GCSE results – moderated using the same algorithm – are released on Thursday.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable, who served in coalition with the Conservatives under David Cameron, warned that the problem would do "permanent damage" to the government.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour, he said that an "act of bad will" could hit ministers in particular.

"The Royal Statistical Society offered help to improve this algorithm to make it more authentic and realistic," he said.

“And the aid was turned down because the statisticians were unwilling to sign a toggle clause promising not to reveal what they found.

"That kind of background dishonesty really doesn't help the smell of this whole thing."

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