ASCL comment on decision to amend the process of awarding grades in Northern Ireland

17/08/2020
Robert Wilson, Northern Ireland Regional Officer, of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the Northern Ireland Department of Education’s decision over changes to the awarding of grades for GCSEs, AS and A levels. 
 
Commenting on the Northern Ireland Department of Education’s decision over changes to the awarding of grades for GCSEs, AS and A levels, Robert Wilson, Northern Ireland Regional Officer, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

We welcome the decision to put an end to the grading fiasco of using only standardised grades. We fully support the Minister’s view that ‘young people in Northern Ireland are in no way disadvantaged in comparison to their peers elsewhere’.

Students, parents, and teachers will breathe a sigh of relief after days of confusion and delay.

This decision will, of course, mean that there is grade inflation this year, but that is a small price to pay for remedying the manifest injustices produced by the statistical model used to moderate grades.

“It will provide AS and A-level students with the relief of an immediate solution, and give GCSE students the comfort of knowing that they will not suffer the same injustices in the results due to be published this week.

We are pleased that the idea of attempting to remedy this situation through the appeals system has now been abandoned as this threatened to become a huge bureaucratic exercise, and prolong the agony of students. 

We and many others in the education sector supported the principle of moderating grades in order to provide consistency. But it is clear that the statistical model has not worked in practice, and that reverting to teacher-assessed grades in this way is the only fair and sensible path forward.”