40% of A-level pupils will have their predicted grades changed – but they can still pick mock result

FOUR in ten A Level grades will have been changed tomorrow as ministers launched a fresh 11th-hour rule change to avoid exams chaos like in Scotland.

Late last night the Government confirmed new plans for a "triple lock" on exam grades to stop thousands of kids being marked down unfairly like the shambled which happened north of the border last week.

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Scottish Highers results descended into chaos after 124,000 pupils received lower grades than what they were predicted thanks to moderators marking kids down below their teacher-assessed grades.

There was uproar as poorer students were marked down more than their richer peers because it takes into account the school's overall performance.

And disadvantaged kids are more likely to have done better in their final exams, and less well in coursework.

Yesterday the Scottish Government u-turned and said they would cancel all the changed grades and return to the teacher-picked ones instead.

The move caused panic in England and Wales as the Government feared a similar situation.

Now students will either get to pick the highest of either their moderated grade, their teachers' prediction, or they can choose to sit the exam in the autumn instead.

The current system will take teachers' predicted grades and standardise them and moderate them using computers.

But Nick Gibb told LBC this morning that "40% of grades will have been adjusted tomorrow but mostly by, the vast majority by just one grade."

It could mean that thousands will get lower grades than their teachers thought they should get – and potentially causing fresh confusion for universities and schools across the country.

However, they can choose to pick their mock exam as their final grade if it's higher than what the model gave them.

It came as:

  • A fresh study by UCL's Institute of Education showed 80 per cent of teacher predictions of A-level outcomes from a previous year were inaccurate
  • Nick Gibb confirmed it would be up to headteachers to decide whether they wanted to ask their pupils to wear masks in the classroom
  • Ministers were accused of being "too sympathetic" to kids who missed out on their exams because of the pandemic

No exams were sat this year thanks to the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Gibb defended the system and stressed it would be "robust and fair"

He told BBC Radio 4: "We are not apologetic for looking, at every stage,  even at the 11th hour, for systems we can use to make the system as fair as possible for young people.

He stressed that the changes "will only affect a small group of people" and most people will get the correct grades they deserve the first time around.

He added: "We want to make sure that every young person gets the grades they deserve.

"We are sticking with the system we have provided – we are not getting rid of it.

"We think its robust and very fair."

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned that the new plan could create "massive inconsistency" among pupils.

He told BBC Breakfast: "I suspect it's a Government wanting to show that it too, like the Government in Scotland, is being sympathetic to children and young people in unprecedented times."

He added: "The idea of introducing at the eleventh hour a system in which mock exam results trump calculated grades beggars belief.

"Schools and colleges have spent months diligently following detailed guidance to produce centre-assessed grades only to find they might as well not have bothered."

Universities are being urged to be "flexible" with students who don't get their predicted grades this year during the pandemic.

Some are taking students from January to allow pupils to sit exams in the autumn.

However, without standardizing some of the grades, Mr Gibb warned there would have been a 12 per cent rate of inflation from last year – which may have made some qualifications rated worthless.

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One source told the Daily Mail: “in Scotland there are now students walking around with inflated grades that no one will take seriously.”

Labour's shadow education secretay Kate Green said today the announcement was "papering over the cracks".

She added: "I feel for students affected by this chaos."

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