Gavin Williamson insisted today that he intends to continue as Secretary of Education, despite increasing calls to end the A-level results fiasco.
Mr Williamson announced a screeching U-turn yesterday as the government said grades are now based on teacher assessments rather than a controversial algorithm developed by regulator Ofqual.
The algorithm gave aAlmost 40 percent of the grades given were below the predictions of teachers, causing widespread anger among students and parents.
Mr. Williamson apologized for the "hardship" caused by the debacle as tens of thousands of students face an uncertain future and universities are now trying to find places for courses that may already be full.
The Education Secretary said this morning he was "incredibly sorry" but repeatedly refused to say whether he had offered Boris Johnson his resignation.
Mr Williamson signaled his intention to delve amid growing calls to step down, saying he was & # 39;I am determined to deliver the best education system in the world in the coming year. "
Mr Williamson tried to divert some of the blame for the situation on Ofqual when he said the government had been assured that the algorithm was workingwould pass the exam & # 39 ;.
Despite calling for Mr. Williamson to be fired, government sources have said that Mr. Johnson values loyalty and that the Secretary of Education "was with the Prime Minister from the start".
Many Tory MPs believe Mr Johnson will not be made to get rid of any of his allies in the cabinet.
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer said the A-Level series of results summarized the government's "incompetent" handling of the pandemic.
"In a time of national emergency, this is not a way to rule a country," he wrote in The Mirror. Tory incompetence is holding Britain back from recovery.
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer wrote in the Daily Mirror that the Conservatives' handling of the situation summarized their handling of this pandemic – incompetent.
Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson in his office at the Department of Education in Westminster, London, after announcing that A-Level and GCSE scores in England will now be based on teacher ratings
The pressured education minister was so confident in his position that he posed for photos yesterday despite the ongoing chaos in his office.
In today's Sky News, Williamson said he first became aware of problems with the algorithm over the weekend and tried again to blame regulator Ofqual for the problems.
He said: “We have apparently worked with Ofqual continuously for several weeks and put a challenge, a consistent challenge, into the system to have the certainty that this is a system that works and is fair.
& # 39; When we saw the Scottish system and the challenges there, we wanted to work with Ofqual to build a more robust and powerful appointment process into the system.
"That's why we introduced the triple lock that we introduced before the start of the examination systems."
When asked when he first became aware of the problems with the algorithm, he said, “Well, it turned out that there were challenges within the algorithm when we saw the results right away and then over the weekend came out.
"We had concerns before … when we saw what had happened in Scotland, we wanted to put in place a more robust system."
When he appeared on Sky News today, Williamson said he first became aware of problems with the algorithm over the weekend and had confidence that the system they put in place was robust
Students hold placards as they protest outside the constituency office of Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, who has been under pressure to resign
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the government had full confidence in the examination system because of the "extensive consultation" it had conducted.
He told Sky News: “When we were able to cancel exams due to Covid, we consulted extensively and extensively with unions, with the school sector and with the public across the industry.
Game as BTECs are omitted
BTEC students were in limbo last night after being banned from the U-turn in government exam results.
Ofqual chairman Roger Taylor confirmed that A-Level and GCSE grades are now calculated based on teachers' ratings – but said the change does not apply to BTECs.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has vowed to fight for BTEC students to be included in the new policy.
Mr Burnham has threatened to sue the government over dealing with the audit crisis and said he would continue legal action unless there is another U-turn.
Currently, BTEC students across the country are still faced with grades calculated by a computer algorithm.
Since each BTEC qualification is worth fewer UCAS points than a high school diploma, the effects of a demotion are even more severe for BTEC students.
Mr Burnham's intervention comes after many students complained that they still haven't figured out their final results, even though they expected to receive them last Thursday.
Pearson Audit Committee, the UK's largest registrar for qualifications such as BTECs, A-Levels and GCSEs, admitted that there had been significant delays on hundreds of BTEC results.
This means that those affected cannot confirm their study places, although the places are quickly filled by the clearing process. The Audit Committee said it was "urgently" looking at the issue.
Regarding the results of the government's turnaround, a spokesman said, "For the very small number of grades that have been adjusted, we will review them on a case-by-case basis."
& # 39; Ofqual conducted one of the largest consultations ever, with over 12,000 responses, and there was broad political consensus on the need to moderate the notes and that was the path we took.
& # 39; This was not just in England but Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland too. We all worked incredibly closely together to create a fair and robust system.
"We had full confidence, from the extensive and extensive consultation we had with regard to the development of the system, that what Ofqual developed would stand up to test and have the robustness that did not exist." t the case in the Scottish system. & # 39;
He added, “One of the main differences between the system developed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the systems developed in these three countries, was that they did not have the same differences in the marks of grades between children from disadvantaged areas and Children from disadvantaged areas.
"So there was greater confidence that this was a much more robust system that would give students fair results."
Shadow Education secretary Kate Green asked Mr Williamson 15 questions including when students will get their new grades and whether there will still be a free appeal process.
She welcomed the government "finally reversing its position" after more and more students, teachers and Conservative MPs called.
"However, the confusion of the past few weeks and the delay in making these important decisions mean that there are now important open questions that students, parents and institutions urgently need clarification on," she added.
Her questions included whether students who have accepted an offer based on their moderated grades can change institutions and how universities will be supported by the move to lift the temporary limit on places.
She also asked Mr. Williamson to confirm that no universities will be "allowed to fail financially" because of the changes and that the Cabinet Secretary will determine the position for the grades of BTEC students.
In a statement, the Labor MP added: “This was a welcome and necessary change in policy, but we should never have been in this position as the government had months to get this right.
"The associated delay and chaos mean that students, families and education providers have no answers to key questions."
Mr Williamson apologized Monday for "the hardship" being inflicted on the students and their parents, saying it became clear over the weekend that action was needed after Ofqual released additional data on its algorithm.
There were widespread concerns that attempting to base results in part on past school performance would have more negative effects on bright students and disadvantaged schools.
A timeline of failed exams
March 18th: Schools are closing and exams are being canceled as Britain comes to a standstill under coronavirus lockdown
March, 20th: Ministers say Ofqual and examination boards will develop a grades assessment system if parents fear their children may lose.
July 11th: Education Committee MPs warn that the calculated grading system could unfairly punish disadvantaged and minority students because of its calculation.
4th of August: Scottish Higher results are published. Around 100,000 grades – a quarter of the total – are assessed as part of a plan drawn up by Nicola Sturgeon by the SNP administration
August 11: Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney turns under pressure from Tories and Labor and says the predicted grades will be used in place of the algorithm.
August 11: Ministers in England decide that students can appeal their grades just two days before the English results are published, in some cases with mock exams.
13 August: Almost 40 percent of A-Level scores in England are downgraded by the Ofqual algorithm, creating widespread anger and calls for a U-turn.
15th of August: Ministers say they will fund appeals against the distributed brands to quell the anger.
15th of August: Ofqual is withdrawing its appointment criteria just hours after its publication pending review.
August 17th: Mr Williamson announced that A-Levels and GCSEs due to be released on Thursday will be calculated based on predicted grades if he calls for his resignation.
Which grades can be used now and will I still study at my first choice university? Answers to your questions about A-Level and GCSE U-Turn mayhem
by Mark Duell for MailOnline
Students in England were told that their A-Level grades are now based on teachers' ratings – if they were higher than the moderated grades they received.
GCSE students, eagerly awaiting their results on Thursday, can also opt for grades based on their teachers' estimates, rather than the controversial algorithm developed by the examination board Ofqual.
The government's U-turn comes after Ofqual announced that almost two out of five (39.1 percent) A-level grades in England have been reduced due to teachers' predictions.
Here is a breakdown of what the decision means for students:
What was the original plan?
After the exams were canceled, Ofqual, the exam supervisor, asked teachers to submit grades for students and list them in order of ability. However, it turned out that many were overly optimistic. It was decided that more reliance should be placed on statistical modeling – or "standardization". This led to the algorithm that was used to calculate the grades.
Why was that controversial?
Much of the teachers' predictions were considered useless. A school's performance over the past few years played a bigger role – it reduced 40 percent of high school diplomas and an even higher percentage of GCSEs. The system penalized students in underperforming schools in poor areas. The aim was simply to preserve existing trends, including educational inequality.
A group of Norwich School students reacted when they received their A-Level results last Thursday
What has changed now?
Ahead of yesterday's U-turn, Ofqual relaxed its strict appointment criteria, saying schools could question the results.
But the schools' duty to produce evidence that their grades were wrong meant the argument deepened. The Scottish government marked the first turnaround and promised to restore the teachers' original predictions.
Westminster has introduced a "Triple Lock" guarantee, which means students can fall back on bogus exam grades or take new papers in October. But after a weekend of confusion, it announced that England would allow teachers' grades too.
How do they get new grades?
The guide has yet to be released by the Department of Education, but it is anticipated that the boards will be sending out new exam certificates for high school graduates in the coming days. The government has stated that GCSE results will not be delayed, so they should also reflect teachers' grades.
W.Helloch notes can now be used?
A-level and GCSE students in England can now use their Center Assessment Grades (CAGs) – the grades that schools and colleges submit to the examination boards – if they're higher than the moderated grade.
Teachers were asked to hand in the grades they believed any student would most likely have received if they had passed the papers after exams were canceled this summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The examination boards moderated these grades to ensure that this year's results were not significantly higher than in previous years. An algorithm was used that was created by the English examination authority.
Students can keep their calculated grade from the examination boards, but if their school's original estimated grade was higher they can use that result as well.
Students receive their A-Level results last Thursday at the City Academy Hackney in East London
What were the problems with moderated grades?
Critics complained that the Ofqual algorithm, used by the examination boards to adapt, penalized students in schools in deprived areas and benefited those in private schools.
School principals reported that schools and colleges with larger cohorts saw more grades from their students downgraded, while those with smaller cohorts did not seem as affected.
Politicians and education unions urged ministers to scrap the unfair model and return to teachers' cherished grades to ensure students can advance into higher education and employment.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has admitted that the algorithm created more "significant inconsistencies" than an appeal process could fix.
Can an appeal still be made based on bogus exams?
Last week, Mr. Williamson made a "triple lock" promise that students could get the highest score from their calculated board grade, mock exam, or taking the actual exam in the fall.
Following the decision to allow the use of school grades instead, the Minister of Education has stated that mock exam results will not be an integral part of the appeal process for A-level and GCSE students in England.
Students who are dissatisfied with both their calculated grade and the grade for the centre's assessment can continue to take exams in the fall.
Further details and guidelines for handling complaints have not yet been published.
The Ucas deadline for applicants to meet their bid conditions ends on September 7th. The examination boards only have a few weeks to issue the results of the complaints.
Students wearing face masks take part in a protest against A-Level results in London on Saturday
Will universities be able to accept students who have the grades now?
The government has announced it will remove temporary student enrollment controls introduced this year to halt Covid-19 over-recruitment in order to remove potential barriers to student progress.
Ministers have asked universities to be as flexible as possible when considering who should be admitted to a course and they expect institutions to respect all offers made and fulfilled.
However, some institutions have already raised concerns about lack of capacity, staff, accommodation and facilities as the number increases – especially at a time when universities are trying to be Covid-proof.
Students who made their first choice after the government's announcement may be asked to postpone their place for a year if there is no space left on their preferred course.
The government said that students who accepted one offer can release themselves if they reinstate another offer.
What happens to the grades of BTEC students?
The students have urged clarification on how BTEC students will be affected by the announcement.
Mr Williamson said the Department of Education (DfE) is working with BTEC registrar Pearson and he hopes the change will be extended to professional qualifications.
What is happening in the other decentralized nations?
Last week, the Scottish government was forced to turn around after a backlash against the moderation system used there. Students complained after more than 124,000 test scores were downgraded.
It was announced that the lower scores would fall back on grades valued by students' teachers.
Less than a week later – just four days after the A-Level scores were awarded in England, Northern Ireland and Wales – the decentralized administrations announced that they would switch to teacher-assessed grades.
Most A-Level and GCSE students get grades predicted by teachers in Northern Ireland after an outcry from teachers, parents and students.
Like everywhere in the UK, Welsh students are now getting scores based on teacher ratings, rather than some degree grading algorithm and GCSEs.
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