Scottish U-Turn On Exam Results.

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diddlydo | 17:57 Tue 11th Aug 2020 | News
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This is completely insane.

Those of us who are experienced GCE Examiners know full well that teachers' estimated grades are inflated. This year in Scotland they have effectively been handed a "Cheat's Charter". Where Scotland goes today I fear England will follow suit on Thursday.


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It's going to be difficult this year, without the proper grades known. I have seen that teachers seem to be overestimating, so many grades have been lowered. But either way, I think these grades this year will be treated with suspicion. Even though it isn't the fault of students.
I have heard it said many times that the system discriminates against less well off children- and I've heard statistics which claim to prove this- but I am not clear why this would happen.
In all the interviews everyone claims something like " my teacher said I would get 4As but I got A and 3Bs so my grades have been stolen from me." But no-one has said "well perhaps the teacher overestimated my grades"
How can people be sure they'd have got 4As- it depends on how everyone else does if you work on the basis that marks are always standardised to ensure fairness from one year to the next.
I think the Scottish education minister will be dismissed and overall grades will be inflated.
To clarify- although I think he'll be dismissed or will resign I think he has not had the support from Nicola he should have got. She's taken the easy option- give higher grades overall and in effect devalue the grades
Boy #2 is due his GCSE grades a week Thursday. I expect them to closely mirror the predicted grades, the current grades he has been ‘given’ on a regular basis through his GCSEs, his coursework grades and his mock grades. In short, most pupils could tell you the grades they expect because of the constant target setting, assessing and grading they receive. The only big surprise these days seems to be if a pupil does shockingly badly on exam day.
Bit of a fuss over not very much since jobs will be in short supply for a good long time in a post-Covid wasteland.

And don't forget that eventua graduates are up against an increasing influx of doctors and engineers from sunnier climes.

Add to that that Mr Swinney is a former high-heid yin in the Nats with a sick wife and he may yet weather the 'storm'if only on rose-tinted compassionate grounds.

All of the above of course depends on the forthcoming outpourings on Facebook and Twitter and how it all plays vote-wise with the recently enfranchised children of the parish.
Unless this year's students were overall brighter/better than those of previous years the predicted grades for schools should have matched the expected distribution. Overall though they didn't match the expected distribution so the standardisation process was necessary and that inevitably meant some grades had to be lowered compared to the predicted grades. The bit I'm still not clear though is why it turns out that the poorer students are (apparently) 'downgraded' more than affluent students.
Not really, doug... these children will be going up against people in different years, probably straightaway. It isn't helpful if employers don't have confidence in this year's results.
I saw that too, ff. Apparently those at "better schools" are being given an advantage over "deprived" areas.
I’m dreading Thursday. If the same thing happens down here there will be uproar and the phone will be ringing off the hook. I think if uni places are confirmed it won’t be too bad, it’ll be the students that haven’t cut the mustard for their course that will be a problem. We have some Cambridge applicants too. They must be a wreck at the moment.
A dreadful state of events. What other option had JS ? To rely on teachers/ lecturers only? Which is now the case .
an increasing influx of doctors and engineers from sunnier climes.

spell it out, Douglas, you're talking about the Home Counties, aren't you?
hang on douglas, PP and TTT are the acknowledged gobble de gook talkers, no usurping!
As I read it they were marked down less from schools in wealthier areas which has led to claims of discrimination. But surely this greater mark diwn could be expected due to better schools being able to thrive in weathy areas not needing to be overly optimistic when hoping they taught so well that the pupils and school show good results. In less well off areas where things are difficult it's just human nature to be more optimistic that they too hit the good results level.
I think you're confusing mangled language with the pretender to the Dutch throne, woofgang, all one word. :-)
It isn't so much to do with wealthy schools/colleges but previously attained results in past years by previous students.Thus,if a school had a lot of B and C passes at A level then it was thought reasonably safe to assume that this years cohort would likely achieve a greater percentage of those grades.Therefore the student who might have achieved A* and A passes will miss out simply because exams were cancelled.
I suppose it should also prompt the question "which is better at recognising a student's talent, the teacher or the exam?"

I was going to phrase the question in a deliberately leading way, but in reality it's an urgent question that deserves to be asked without bias. I have my suspicions about the reliability of exams, which also (or even primarily) assess the ability to perform in a short burst as opposed to over a longer period of time that is more reflective of the real world; but also you could say that the massive gap between teacher assessment and exam results arises from a bias in favour of their charges.

My sense, though, is that the system was designed to try and be fairer to the students of 2019 and 2021 than to the students actually being assessed this year. If results are being downgraded to (more or less) match previous results, and teacher assessments are ignored only for that reason rather than because what the student has actually done, what did they expect to happen other than a massive outcry?

Then there are individual incidents, like this one from today's Times letters:

// My son has been studying advanced higher statistics this year, at which he excelled. His marks were among the top in every test and in the extra paper that the students completed during lockdown as extra evidence of their ability. The school predicted he would achieve an A yet the SQA gave him a B while awarding A grades to others in his class who had scored lower than him all year. We are assuming this will be rectified by the appeals process, but how was a system designed that allowed this to happen? //

I cannot, obviously, speak for the accuracy of this report, but if true it alone exposes the failure of a system that, admittedly, had to be developed very rapidly.
In England at least, pupils had sat their 'mocks', so those grades can give a good indication. It is beyond me why the system once used for teacher assessment was not immediately reinstated. I.e. teacher marks and sends in grades; exam board accepts (due to history of teacher and school) but more usually asks for papers of 2 or 3 students to be sent in to check that grades were accurate. 'Mocks' are a very good guide, although sometimes someone will put on a late spurt or relax and slide a bit. Easy to pick them out. Why computer algorhythms or whatever had to be involved is completely nuts.
The next stage will be that the standards at Universities will have to be lowered to match their over-inflated results, they will have a meal-ticket for the life of their education.
It's stretching things though, jim, to say teacher assessments have been ignored. In most cases they have been used. In some cases the grades have been adjusted slightly to ensure the grades given match the expected distribution.
How that worked in practice though is not clear to me. If, for example, 10 pupils at a school were given teacher assessments of grade A in Maths but the school would normally expect to get only 7, how would the exam authorities decide which 3 pupils to downgrade?
Maybe the teachers also had to rank all the students- that would allow such decisions to be made

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