Triple lock for students ahead of A level and GCSE results - AoC responds

12 Aug 2020

Responding to the government's new triple lock process for students ahead of A Level and GCSE results. Chief Executive, David Hughes said: 

“The media coverage and decisions in this last week before results day has done nothing to ease young people’s worries and confusion in what has already been a disrupted and stressful academic year. In the absence of students actually sitting exams and assessments this was always going to be imperfect process. It’s no surprise that the outcomes are being questioned like never before. There will be time over the coming months to review what has happened, not for recriminations, but to help design a system which can be more resilient to future shocks and to ensure confidence in the accuracy of the grades.

What we need now, though, to truly do justice to the Class of 2020, is to put all of our efforts into helping every student navigate a route through results day and onto their next step. Whether that be progressing at college, into a job, onto university or an apprenticeship. The process for results this year should help make that happen, despite the inevitable flaws.

Ahead of GCSE results day next week we would urge the government to consider the interests of students on the border of grade 4 in English and maths. We would support an approach which makes sure that they do not lose out. This can be achieved by agreeing that the moderation process should not downgrade any student from grade 4 to grade 3. The grade 4 boundary is like a cliff-edge, so it would be highly unfair for standardisation based on previous results to over-ride teacher assessments. Announcing this would ease the concerns of thousands of young people who need their grade 4 results to progress successfully this autumn.

The government’s commitment to underwrite the additional costs of the autumn exam series is welcome and comes on top of the separate refunds from awarding bodies which reflect their reduced costs for this summer’s exam entries. The new autumn series will incur a range of extra costs and place additional pressure on colleges at a busy time of the year such as entry fees, accommodation, administration and invigilation. It is critical that the additional funding will cover all of those. We still hope that the numbers of young people needing or wanting to enter in the autumn will be low because they have been able to progress successfully onto the next stage of their learning or into work. Large numbers of autumn entries would cause disruption to students and to colleges as well as logistical problems.”

You can read the full DfE press release here.