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Exam results: NI pupils to get highest predicted A-level grade

1 month ago 27
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A-level and AS-level students in Northern Ireland will be awarded the highest grade either predicted by their teacher or awarded officially last week.

Education Minister Peter Weir made the announcement on Monday, hours after announcing GCSEs would be based solely on teacher predictions.

The U-turn follows widespread criticism of the way way A-levels were graded.

The Stormont Assembly will meet on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

About 28,000 pupils across Northern Ireland received their A-level results last Thursday.

More than a third of estimated grades allocated by teachers to A-level and AS level students were lowered in the final results.

Image copyright Pacemaker Image caption A-level students received their results last Thursday

While the proportion of A* to A A-level grades rose by 2.3%, 37% of estimated grades were lowered; 5.3% were raised.

Last year, 45.8% of estimated grades provided by schools matched the student's final results.

Schools had been asked to give predicted grades but then other data was used by exams body CCEA to standardise the results.

Standardisation aims to prevent a situation where a school could give all of its pupils unrealistically high marks.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Education Minister Peter Weir has been called on to take action over grades

On Tuesday morning, Mr Weir said GCSEs taken with exams body CCEA - which provides about 97% of GCSE exams in Northern Ireland - would be not be subject to standardisation.

CCEA said it welcomed the minister's decision on GCSEs.

"We will work immediately to implement this decision, with GCSE results published on Thursday 20 August 2020," it said.

Image copyright PA

Following the cancellation of exams in March, CCEA was instructed by Mr Weir to ensure the calculated results in 2020 were broadly in line with performance in recent years.

CCEA asked teachers to give a predicted grade for their pupils and then rank them in order within their class.

It then used other data to standardise the results. For A-levels, the model used pupils' AS-level results and resit data.

Image copyright PA Media

By Sunday night, representatives from all parties had signed an SDLP motion, representing Sinn Féin, the Ulster Unionists, Alliance, People Before Profit, the Green Party, Traditional Unionist Voice and independent MLAs Claire Sugden, Trevor Lunn and Jim Wells, who no longer holds the DUP whip.

Speaker Alex Maskey agreed the assembly would meet on Tuesday to debate the issue, although this was decided prior to Mr Weir's U-turn.

A-level and GCSE students in Wales will also be awarded the grades predicted for them by their teachers.

The English government is set to make an announcement on this issue this afternoon.

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