ASCL calls on government to talk to employers about grading changes

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the publication of tomorrow’s A-level and VTQ results in England.
“It is imperative that the government engages with employer associations and provides advice and guidance for employers to use over the changes which have taken place to grading standards between 2020 and 2023. This is vital to ensure that employers understand how different cohorts of students have been graded during and after the Covid pandemic and guard against students being disadvantaged in applications for jobs both now and in the future.
“Grading standards are this year expected to return to a similar pattern to 2019 meaning that the number achieving the top grades will reduce in comparison to last year which was in turn a reduction on the previous year. While universities are steeped in the mechanics of different qualification systems and will adjust accordingly, this is not necessarily the case with employers who will have differing levels of knowledge about these changes. The government must work with employer associations to disseminate clear information upon which recruiters can easily draw in assessing candidates.
“The changes to grading standards were driven by the unique circumstances of the pandemic, and the glide back to 2019 standards is part of a return to normality. But this will feel like a bitter pill to many in this year’s cohort as they also suffered disruption during the pandemic and those in disadvantaged circumstances were adversely affected in particular. It is essential that everything possible is done to support these young people.”