Published on 14th August 2020 at 14:02.
At Sussex Students' Union, we want to offer solidarity and support to all students who had their A-level results unfairly downgraded.
On what should have been a day for celebration, many have been left dismayed, with no certainty about whether they will be permitted access to higher education this year.
This government, despite advice from educators and students, has led us into another crisis. With exams cancelled due to Covid, grades have been calculated based on teacher predictions. We oppose the inherent racism and classism of this deeply flawed system and call on the government to act now.
This system is one which dramatically disadvantages students along race and class lines. Black and working class students’ grades have been shown to be chronically underestimated in comparison to white students and those from more affluent backgrounds.
The injustice is compounded this year, as those inaccurate, underestimated predicted grades are being used to determine whether students will gain access to higher education.
Predicted grades have now been moderated dramatically downwards in response to what the government views as ‘excessive grade inflation’.
Over a third of results in England (35.6%) were downgraded by one or more grades. This has been determined by a flawed algorithm, based on schools’ past performance. We are left with results that hugely favour those who were already favoured by the education system.
Inequalities that were already present within the system have been exacerbated and locked in.
An Equality and Impact Assessment conducted on the statistical model used by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) to replace exams, reveals that already disadvantaged students have been marked down the most using this problematic modelling.
Meanwhile, private schools have received more than double the amount of As and A*s compared with their comprehensive school counterparts.
We must oppose the injustice here, which affects young people and many of our incoming students.
We join with the National Union of Students and the University and College Union in demanding that the government in England:
- Gives all students their teacher assessed grades – without moderation
- Introduces a fair and free appeals process for all students, to combat all instances of racist, classist or other discrimination
- Commit to an overhaul of our current system of exams and grading
- Invest in our education system to end educational inequality