By Gavin Mackintosh-
The Association of College’s chief executive, David Hughes has written to Gavin Williamson and Ofqual raising concerns about “systemic bias” and calling for an urgent review of the standardisation process.
Mr Hughes(pictured) referred to a systematic bias that may have resulted from people from disadvantaged backgrounds attending colleges known for producing better grades than they have been awarded this year. Mr Hughes in particularly expressed disappointment in the news that many colleges had seen over 50% of the grades they awarded their pupils adjusted downwards.
He called for an investigation which he said should extend beyond pupils using the appeals process. His complaint is bound to add to hundreds if not thousands of more complaints from pupils and parents who will be bitterly disappointed at grades that do not reflect their expectation for the subjects sat.
Students studying A levels aim to attend University at the end of their course and pursue a course according to their career ambitions. Different courses come with different entry requirements for different universities. Universities will be expected to bemore flexible this ye
He said: “My congratulations go out to the many college students who will have received the results they deserve and need to successfully realise their ambitions. Thanks to their hard work and the efforts of college staff, most students will be able to progress to the next stage of their education despite all the disruption this year.
“However, we are deeply concerned that the adjustment process may have disadvantaged larger centres such as colleges and those with historically strong value added data. There seem to be inconsistencies across the board.
“While 39.1% of Centre Assessment Grades were adjusted down by one or more grade overall, we are hearing from a number of colleges that over 50% of their grades have been adjusted downwards. Colleges with large cohorts and very stable and predictable results over time are seeing their lowest grade profile ever, particularly at the higher grades, A to C. Because on average more disadvantaged students attend further education colleges this may have resulted in a systemic bias.
“It is for this reason that I have written to the Education Secretary and the Chief Regulator of Ofqual this morning to ask for an urgent technical review into the A Level results standardisation process. If colleges, and subsequently many disadvantaged students have been hit by an unfair or inconsistent process then this needs to be investigated immediately – and adjustments made quickly. This should not be left to individual colleges or students having to use the appeals process.”