A level results highlight failure not success

Published Aug 17, 2017

Today’s A Level results are the first after a huge change in the manner they are assessed in England. A Levels in 13 key subjects - which make up 60% of entries - have been made ‘final examination only’ qualifications, which means there are no more modular examinations that can be re-sat indefinitely and no more coursework assessment.

David Kurten AM, the UKIP Education spokesman, responded,"Of course we must congratulate those students who have passed, but our happiness at their success must not blind us to serious flaws in the system. On the surface, it would see that there is little change in the overall results. One minor feature of the new system is that boys have marginally outperformed girls for the first time since 2000. Cries of sexism abound that the new system is institutionally misogynistic, but these same voices were eerily silent during the 16 years where girls outperformed boys.

"Yet look under the bonnet and there is a huge stitch-up. The number of pupils gaining A/A* grades has increased slightly and those gaining a pass grade (A* to E) is largely unchanged.

"But the standard needed to get a pass grade has been made immensely easier. There was an early warning of this last week when it was reported that Ofqual put out a statement asking exam boards to alter their grade boundaries so that more students would pass. This seems to have happened in the most dramatic fashion.

"In the reformed A levels the grade boundary for outstanding grades (A*/A) appears to have decreased from 73% to 70%.

"Even more astonishing is the overall pass mark for an A Level has gone down from 42% in 2016 to just 28% in 2017. This represents a gross diminishment in the value of the supposedly tougher reformed A Levels

"Far from making A Levels tougher and more academically rigorous, it seems that the ‘Conservative in Name Only’ government, via Ofqual, has skewered its own plans".

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