ASCL response to Ofqual evidence to Education Select Committee

02/09/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on Ofqual’s evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee regarding the awarding of grades this summer. 
 
Commenting on Ofqual’s evidence to the House of Commons Education Select Committee regarding the awarding of grades this summer, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

Ofqual’s evidence is that there was nothing wrong with the algorithm used in the standardisation process, but the fundamental mistake was believing a statistical approach to awarding grades would be acceptable to the public, and that the government knew the risks all along.

We look forward to the government’s response, and how this squares with the Prime Minister’s recent statement that a ‘mutant algorithm’ was to blame for the grading fiasco.

More importantly, we now need to focus on next year’s exams

While the government plans for a full exam series, we may once again be in a position where at least some students are either unable to take exams or experience significant disruption in their preparation because of the impact of coronavirus and associated restrictions. 

We note with concern Ofqual’s position that this situation can be addressed through additional papers and online tests, and that it has sufficient time to work out a solution. 

This sounds very difficult to manage at any scale, and it would surely be prudent to have a contingency plan in place based on some form of assessment in the autumn and spring term which could be used to reliably inform grades in the event that students are unable to sit exams

We are very concerned that there is no such back-up plan, and that time is fast slipping away in which to put such a strategy in place.”