A-Level results: ‘No substitute for exams’ says Education Secretary

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has admitted that despite efforts, no replacement grading system can match the fairness of exams, as thousands receive A-Level results this morning.

All summer exams were cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking with talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, Mr Williamson said: “There is no substitute for exams, no substitute at all.

“What we’ve done is design a system that puts the checks and balances in there, heavily focuses on being fair to the maximum number of pupils as possible but there is no system that is as good as exams.”

Around 300,000 school leavers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving calculated grades based on teachers’ recommendations and moderated by exam boards.

In a last minute change to the appeal system, the government announced this week that students in England will have the “safety net” of being able to use mock exam results as the basis for an appeal if they are higher than the calculated grade.

School and university leaders have demanded clarity from ministers on how the appeals process in England will work and whether it will be completed in time for universities opening in the autumn.

As initial results emerge, figures from admissions service UCAS show the total number of students accepted on to UK degree courses has increased by 2.9 per cent compared to the same point last year, with 358,860 taking up places so far.

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