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JIM ALLISTER MLA | Looming scandal over GCSEs needs headed off now

Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:

“The revelations on this morning’s Nolan Show about the model being used to award GCSE grades demands a detailed response from CCEA and the Education Minister.

“Why on earth did teachers give considerable thought and care to predicted grades for students if those are not being fed into the CCEA model? How can it possibly be fair to have the performance of pupils at your school last year being THE key factor in what grades you will be awarded in 2020?

“To use teacher predicted grades merely to rank pupils according to a school’s past performance is manifestly unfair. I note that one of the key reasons being cited for this approach is that teachers often overestimate how their pupils will perform when it comes to predicted grades. However, CCEA themselves admit that only 60% of schools return predicted grades! How can you make a judgement on how accurate a school is at predicting grades if they haven't submitted a prediction in years?

“What if this year a school has a strong group of students and had put in place new strategies to help students perform well and as a result estimated that their grades would improve? It would appear that under the model CCEA is using considerations such as this won't even come into the reckoning.

“That would be an intolerable situation.

“My office like many up and down the country has been inundated with students and parents distressed at the outcome of the A level results. In some cases straight A students throughout their GCSE and AS years have been downgraded and as a result look like potentially missing out on studying law, medicine or dentistry. It’s a fiasco. The Minister needs to act now and reinstate teacher assessed grades at A level. It’s not perfect but at this point, it is the only way forward. Furthermore, he needs to head off the looming scandal when it comes to GCSE grades by acting now."