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Colleges call for a GCSE retake ‘single lock’

14th August 2020

Colleges call for a GCSE retake ‘single lock’ to support some of the most disadvantaged students in the country Ahead of next week’s GCSE results, the Association of Colleges, which represents more than 90% of England’s colleges, is asking for a ‘single lock’ to support the future progress of over 120,000 young people who were due to resit their English and maths GCSEs in colleges this summer. Put simply, AoC is asking for the final grade to be what their teachers and lecturers painstakingly assessed, with no algorithm used.Without actual exams to go by, OfQual has implemented a similar process for GCSEs as was used for A Level results this week. Those A Level results showed that algorithms do not work for every student and did not work for many colleges. The algorithms are particularly inappropriate where prior achievement is low and where institutional performance has changed in recent years.The Association is therefore calling for teacher assessed grades to be honoured and not be subject to any statistical adjustment because: These are among the most disadvantaged students in our system, around 70% of this cohort are from disadvantaged groups. Colleges approached the process of producing Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) very rigorously using robust evidence and applying challenge and moderation to ensure consistent standards. The GCSE grade 3 /4 boundary is a cliff edge and falling the ‘wrong’ side of it has a profound and long-term impact on students’ lives Previous post-16 retake results are not a reliable guide to these students’ achievement, so it is particularly arbitrary for them to have an algorithm decide which side of that cliff edge they fall. David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said: "Removing GCSE resit students from the results algorithm is the right thing to do to for some of the most disadvantaged students in the country. Honouring teachers’ grade 4 predictions will give thousands of students the backing they need to progress after a very disrupted period. Colleges want to help them get back into learning after lockdown and make progress onto their next course. This will be one less challenge to face as they continue with their studies. It will be the break they need to show that the system is looking after their interests.”