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‘Students will get the qualifications they deserve’, Licudi says

Photo by Gabriella Peralta

Predicted grades issued as GCSE and A Level results will be “fair, proper and objective”, the Minister for Education, Gilbert Licudi stressed yesterday, amid concerns over the new system.
The cancellation of exams due to the coronavirus outbreak will see teachers deliver predicted grades to examination boards by May 29.
These grades will then be handed out to students on results day this August, but concerns have arisen over the new process.
In the UK, a survey published by the Higher Education Policy Institute highlighted that fewer than half of university applicants believe predicted grades are accurate.
The survey, of 506 UK university applicants and 1,039 undergraduate students, found that 46% of applicants expect their predicted grades to reflect their final grade – but more than a quarter (27%) think their predicted grades will be worse than if they had been able to take exams.
But Director of Education Jackie Mason reassured parents and students alike that teachers are following UK guidelines when predicting a grade, and will deliver the grades based on evidence.
“Teachers have always issued predicted grades,” Ms Mason told the Chronicle.
“Predicted grades are not just a subjective decision, it is based on evidence, coursework’s, assignments, practical’s, and for art, portfolios which they have been submitting through the year.”
“We have had a number of papers issued by Ofqual on guidelines and gathering information that needs to be submitted.”
The teachers now have just over a month to review their students’ work collectively and decide which grade they would have most likely achieved.
They will not be allowed to tell students until the final results are issued.
Mr Licudi added this is not a subjective assessment of what a teacher would like to award a particular student.
“We know students have been working hard and we will ensure they get the qualifications they deserve,” Mr Licudi said.
He added: “This is what they honestly and objectively believe the student would have achieved had they sat the exams.”
Students with concerns can reach out to their counselling service and talk about their anxieties about the new system, and Mrs Mason those with concerns are being dealt with.
Mr Licudi said he was unsure depending on how the virus spreads whether the students would be able to pick up results in person like years past, or instead receive their results electronically.
Students unhappy with their results in August can then opt to sit in the exam in autumn, which is counted as a re-sit.
“It is like when normal school is in session, they have the opportunity to retake the whole year, or just decide to retake the exam later on in autumn,” Mrs Mason said.
“Hopefully by then things would have normalised worldwide and avenues that were there before will be available once again.”
Students typically start looking at their GCSE and A-Level options before receiving grades, and Mr Licudi said that process has already started in one of the schools.
“Material has been sent out for students to start looking at what options and be able to choose their options for next year,” Mr Licudi said.
“Ultimately it would depend on the grades they get, but that process which happens every single year is going to happen this year in exactly the same way, electronically.”

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