Global dissatisfaction expected as A level results are released

By Nicole Wootton-Cane• Published on: Aug 2, 2021
Global dissatisfaction expected as A level results are released
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A level students across the world are bracing themselves for a week of disappointment as thousands of students are set to receive lower grades than expected. 

With no physical examinations taking place this year for domestic or international A level students, grades have been determined by a combination of teacher predictions, the school’s past performance, and standardisation processes. 

However, the system has been criticised for unfairly disadvantaging pupils, especially those  from low-income backgrounds and lower-performing schools. 

One of the main providers of international A levels, Cambridge International, said that only a little under half of the grades awarded to pupils were the same as those predicted by the teachers.

For Cambridge International A levels, results have been decided by the exam board, using a combination of evidence from schools such as predicted grades, mock exam results and student rankings, and followed by a standardisation process determined by Cambridge. 

In a statement, Christine Özden, Chief Executive of Cambridge International said:“Predicted grades for June 2020 were higher than historical school performance data for the last three years, which is understandable, as teachers want to see their students succeed.”

Earlier this week, the government announced a U-turn on Scottish Highers after uproar over lowered grades, with over 124,000 downgraded results now reinstated.

Following this, earlier today it was also revealed that pupils in England will be allowed to use their mock grades if they are unhappy with their given results. 

Özden called the system Cambridge International used to determine grades “robust”, and emphasised that “A key priority was to ensure Cambridge students received grades that are trusted by employers and universities around the world.

“We engaged worldwide with other awarding bodies, governments and universities to develop our process for awarding grades. It works across the many different countries in which we work, and is similar to the process used in the UK.

“I would like to thank our schools and teachers for the huge amount of effort they put into supporting our awarding process for the June 2020 series, which has enabled us to provide students with reliable and trusted grades this year.

“I hope our students around the world can now move forward with their lives, and come through this experience stronger and more resilient, after what has been a very challenging time for everyone.”

Cambridge International A level results were released on 11th August. Domestic UK A levels, Pearson International A levels, and Cambridge Pre-U results will be released on Thursday, 13th August. 

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