Often for this mid-August article I am pleased to be commending A Level students from local schools and Collyers on their (regularly extremely impressive!) grades. This year this has clearly been clouded by uncertainty.
It is not easy to “grade” an exam that doesn’t take place. We set high expectations for ourselves as do parents and indeed teachers. We all need the certainty of an exam to be satisfied that “justice has been done”.
Those exams couldn’t take place this year due to Covid – and even if they had in some truncated form the ways different schools adapted to the extreme difficulties of teaching during Coronavirus may have been all too apparent in the grades achieved – which would be most unfair to the students.
I was very grateful to receive helpful and detailed feedback from local heads and teachers and those directly effected. While I was supportive of the approach taken the specifics that the algorithm (designed to moderate the grades) was producing certainly gave me cause for concern and I know I was not alone.
On exams that matter so much to individuals it is absolutely critical that everyone can have confidence in the system. OfQual, the exam regulator, has now decided that students should be awarded their moderated or predicted grade whichever is higher.
In what is an already difficult environment for many a huge amount of focus is being put into ensuring the system works as effectively as possible for those applying to University.
I do feel very sorry for those leaving schools and colleges this year. Their final year has been fundamentally changed by Covid and lockdown restrictions have a particular impact on this generation.
They have not had the satisfaction of completing exams but they have gained grades as the culmination of many years study and we wish them well.
On the subject of the pleasure of learning it is great to see Horsham Library reopening this week both for borrowing books and (on a pre-booked basis) to use the computers. Initial opening is restricted to keep staff and users safe – but numbers and opening times will I am sure increase. It’s a very welcome development.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Quin visited Horsham Library this week which has reopened for borrowing and for (pre booked) computer sessions. Hours are currently restricted so visitors should look on line for details.