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TEN suggestions to reverse out of the exams mess



These are the TEN suggestions made to the government last Friday, 7th August 2020 in  'Qfqual builds a concrete wall'.  The Scottish Government has made steps towards doing these these earlier this week. But its seems that the Government in Westminster has failed to act. The consequence will be inequality becoming further entrenched in our society. Time is running out for everyone this summer.



  1. Go ahead with the current grades as it is too late to stop now with UCAS and clearing in the wings.
  2. Reveal how the grades were calculated in detail with data available openly
  3. Report the awarded grades to the candidates, UCAS and the universities along with the predicted grades and the past performance of the school in each subject. This must include n, standard deviation and range.
  4. UCAS must set out guidance on how to use the data on each candidate as an individual. This includes a fair way to make contextual decisions that reflect the work and determination of the candidate along with potential they offer.
  5. All universities, including the elite research ones, should take context into account when awarding places this year. They should go further and pilot this as a way forward from next year.
  6. Appeals should be stopped at once. It will only advantage those from better off families that push harder and will be socially divisive and unfair.
  7. The entire process should be put under independent review to reassess all grades across every school and centre. It must be very robust and Qfqual and the government should not be allowed to hide in the corner.
  8. Resits in the Autumn might go ahead, but this must be uncertain as some will be impeded by more lock-downs by then. Students already in their first term at university should be given the same chance to improve since A-Level results will still be important in their later job applications.
  9. No student should have their results downgraded because of the review exercise. But if there are systemic errors and mistakes evident, then they should be openly acknowledged, and lessons learned.
  10. Regrading checks must be completed by the summer of 2020, and before the completion of the next round of examinations, to expedite university decisions for those trying again.
Mike Larkin, retired from Queen's University Belfast after 37 years teaching Microbiology, Biochemistry and Genetics. He has served on the Senate and Finance and planning committee of a Russell Group University.


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