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A-Level Results Day 2020: Cambridge MP ‘furious’ at downgrades for big sixth forms

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Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner has reacted with anger that students studying for A-levels in bigger colleges, including the city’s sixth-form colleges, have been unfairly penalised.

For this year's A-levels, all teachers provided a “centre assessment grade” which is their professional judgment of the most likely grade a student would have achieved if exams had gone ahead.

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner. Picture: Richard Marsham
Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner. Picture: Richard Marsham

If a school or college had fewer than 15 students taking an exam, it was this teacher assessment that OFQAL put the most weight on, to decide which grade to award to a student.

They say: ”There is no statistical model that can reliably predict grades for particularly small groups of students. We have therefore used the most reliable evidence available, which is the CAGs.”

But for classes bigger than 15, like most in Cambridge’s sixth form colleges, more of the teachers’ professional predictions have been downgraded by OFQAL.

Mr Zeichner says this is a real double whammy of injustice for Cambridge’s sixth-form colleges.

He explained that sixth-form colleges have the lowest funding rates and have had to grow to survive, and so have bigger classes to maintain efficiency, and said they are now are being penalised for it.

The MP has been inundated with messages from distraught students and parents, who have seen grades downgraded, and are missing out on their first choice of university.

Long Road’s principal Yolanda Botham has called today’s results an “unfair, fiasco” saying: “We don’t think the regulator’s formula has worked. We have seen a significant reduction in our Centre Assessed Grades.”

Mr Zeichner said: “This is outrageous! My heart goes out to the students who are being messed around today and have seen dreams shattered. There really is no excuse - the government had months to sort this out and yet we have seen eleventh hour shifts in policy.

“My message to students is first, not to panic. Speak to your teachers and Universities and see what can be done, and then look into the appeal processes.

“I am furious that the government have messed this up. Why can't they just trust teachers in bigger colleges in the state sector, who know pupils best, to predict a grade.

“I am making my deep concerns known to ministers.”

Read more

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A-Level Results Day 2020: Long Road Sixth Form

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A-Level Results Day 2020: St Mary's Sixth Form, Cambridge

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