Wednesday 5 August 2020 / 10:30 PM Education / Kate Green

Labour seeks urgent assurances over exams results

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, has today written to Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, to demand urgent clarifications for parents and children who are worried that their exam results will not be reflective of the hard work they have put into their education but instead set by a computer algorithm based on their schools’ prior attainment.

In a letter sent to the Education Secretary earlier, Kate Green called on the Government to ensure that inequalities in the education system are not further entrenched by the standardisation methodology being used which “will draw on the historical outcomes of a centre” and that pupils do not have their life chances negatively impacted.

This comes following analysis of Scottish Higher results which showed that the standardisation model used by the Scottish Qualifications Authority led to children from disadvantaged backgrounds having their results reduced at more than double the level of their more affluent peers.

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary also demanded the Government provide a fair and accessible system for appeals, ensuring students get the requisite support to navigate the process.

Labour has previously called on the Government in July to ensure that this year’s assessments are fair, accessible, and accountable. The Party has also warned the Government in response to the Education Select Committee report on calculated grades that they must urgently act to ensure that young people from ethnic minority and disadvantaged backgrounds do not lose out under this system.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“Yesterday’s disastrous handling of Highers results in Scotland shows what can go wrong when computer algorithms drive students’ grades, and politicians wash their hands of responsibility.

“With A-level results just over a week away, and GCSE results due the week after, it’s imperative the Government acts now to reassure worried students, teachers and parents. Young people deserve to have their hard work assessed on merit, but the system risks baking in inequality and doing most harm to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, those from Ethnic Minority groups and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

“Ministers must urgently set out how they’ll ensure the results next week will not exacerbate existing inequalities, and what extra support they’ll give to students who feel they’ve been unfairly graded to navigate the appeals process.”