Exam results u-turn after algorithm is graded “F”

(Title Image: Plaid Cymru via Flickr under Creative Commons Licence BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There was another annual improvement in A-Level, AS-Level and GCSE grades for the 2020 cohort.

However, the results were overshadowed after a controversial algorithm – used to estimate grades after the exams were cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic – overturned teacher-assessed grades and disproportionately downgraded the work of students from deprived backgrounds.

A protest by students, teachers and parents was held outside the Senedd on August 21st.

The Welsh Government – following the lead of Scotland and England – later opted to disregard the algorithmic grades and instead awarded grades based on teacher assessments.

As a result, 40% of A-Level entries result in an A* or A-grade and 74.5% of GCSE awards were graded A*-C.

The Senedd’s Children & Young People Committee were recalled to take evidence from Education Minister, Kirsty Williams (Lib Dem, Brecon & Radnor), who apologised “unreservedly” to students caught up in the crisis.

An independent review of the 2020 grades award will be undertaken by the Open University’s Louise Casella, with a full report and set of recommendation expected to be published by the end of 2020.