ASCL Cymru comment on AS and A-level results in Wales

13/08/2020
Eithne Hughes, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru comments on today’s AS and A-level results in Wales.
 
Commenting on today’s AS and A-level results in Wales, Eithne Hughes, Director of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru, said: 
  
“While there has been an overall increase in top grades, we are very concerned that this disguises a great deal of volatility among the results at school and student level. 
  
We have received many calls from school leaders expressing their frustration, confusion, and disappointment at the results awarded to their students. They report that grades have been pulled down in a way that they feel to be utterly unfair and unfathomable, and they are extremely concerned about the detrimental impact on the young people concerned.  
  
School leaders worked very hard to provide accurate grades to the WJEC exam board, carefully following all the guidance, and are dismayed that the statistical model then used to standardise these grades has had such a devastating impact. This is in terms of both the number of grades lowered, and some students’ results being pulled down by more than one grade. 
  

We will be working to understand more about what has happened, but our immediate impression is that the statistical process has proved to be far too blunt an instrument and has created clear injustices.  
  
We have always accepted that some form of standardisation was needed to provide consistency, and we recognise that this was never going to be easy. But the education system is not a statistical model, it is a collection of individuals, and we fear the process has lacked this important degree of nuance. 
  
We are now calling on the Welsh government and the exam regulator Qualifications Wales to review the situation as a matter of urgency, and we would warn them against simply digging in their heels, and insisting all is well. 
  
It is not sufficient for the government to respond to these concerns by saying that schools and colleges can attempt to battle their way through the appeals process.  
  
We have done everything we possibly can to support the grading process in difficult circumstances, but there is a time to say enough is enough.”