21st Jan, 2022

Coventry MP protests over 40pc A Level downgrades

A COVENTRY MP is calling on the government to reverse “unfair” A Level downgrades.

Coventry South Labour MP Zarah Sultana has written to Conservative education secretary Gavin Williamson after nearly 40 per cent of results were downgraded below teachers’ assessments and predictions by officials.

Her letter states: “I have already been contacted by many students and teachers in Coventry South, distressed and angered by results being downgraded.”

The letter adde it is “wholly unfair for students to be disadvantaged for reasons beyond their control.”

Ms Sultana highlights how the Government-approved agency Ofqual’s algorithm, used for determining results in the absence of exams, has resulted in a “far larger rise in A/A* grades at private schools than at state schools.”

Evidence shows students from disadvantaged areas have been hardest hit by this algorithm, she adds.

Ms Sultana paid tribute to Coventry’s teachers, who she says have “shown great commitment to their students” during recent months.

She concludes her letter criticising the “last-minute, botched” “triple lock” announcement Mr Williamson made on Wednesday evening. This proposes to give students the option of accepting their calculated grade, appealing to give their mock exam grade, or resitting in the autumn. Ms Sultana describes this as a “menu of bad options”.

Her letter concludes: “I therefore urge you to urgently reverse this unfairness and equitably rectify the situation.

“After the litany of Government errors, I share the National Education Union’s view that the only solution is to award students the grade their teachers think they would have achieved. After all, teachers know their students better than any algorithm does.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended the “robust” marking system aimed at preventing marks being artificially high in the year that Covid-19 cancelled exams.

The downgrading took into account schools’ past-performance, which has also been contentious in Scotland where the government accepted unfairness and pledged changes

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