A-Level results: These students were predicted to get As - but an algorithm threw their futures into chaos

One pupil explains how being downgraded throws her bursary into doubt, while another says he feels 'betrayed'.

8/14/2020 11:40:00 AM

Labour deputy leader AngelaRayner says the A-level algorithm has given private schools a 'disproportionate significant bonus' in grades and has had a disproportionately negative impact on schools in the North West and North East. Read more:

One pupil explains how being downgraded throws her bursary into doubt, while another says he feels 'betrayed'.

AdvertisementSo a low ranked A grade could slip to a B if the student's cohort performed less well in previous years. The classmates' average GCSE results and key stage 2 assessments appear to be a factor in the algorithm.The teachers' grades are also set against the school's performance in previous years.

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So, if the algorithm sees too many As and Bs given by the school - it will adjust the lower ranked students downwards. In the worst-case scenario, the A grade student is downgraded even further to a C.The college where algorithm downgraded 47% of results

Also, if a school has only one high achiever every four years, and it has not been four years since their last high achiever, then most likely pupils in 2020 will not get high grades.Here, students tell Sky News how the controversial grading method affected their results.

Holly Barber, 18, from Woodhouse Grove School, BradfordImage:Holly Barber said 'the government have completely ruined a lot of kids' futures'I feel a bit embarrassed that I've been wrongly graded for all my efforts at school.I've spent two years trying to get the best results possible and this looks like I've not even tried at all at school. I feel it's completely unfair.

I went into school this morning and they told us they'd spent hours in meetings, going through everything carefully to get us the right grades.So then to be dropped from a predicted A to an E in physics for no reason at all... it's just demoralising.

How the A-level algorithm worksThis will have a big impact on my future.The government have completely ruined a lot of kids' futures.Every single person I've talked to has been downgraded. I feel like we've been screwed over. I've messaged so many people in my year and they've all been screwed over.

Shakeel Sooki, 18, Bexleyheath Academy, south LondonImage:Shakeel Sooki got an A in his last two mocksI feel a bit betrayed. My teachers did their upmost best to help me and gave me all the support possible to do all my work.My mocks in Year 12 weren't particularly good, but with all the extra help, they were improving.

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Literally, my last mocks in chemistry and biology before we broke up were two As, so I knew that before lockdown happened if I did the exams and kept up with the work I was doing I could easily get an A and meet my offers.I still had some hope they would see my last mocks and take that into account. Unfortunately they haven't... I can do a lot better.

I don't feel like it's been handled particularly well - not a lot of information has come out, they just abruptly announced some changes because they saw how Scotland handled it and the backlash they received from the way they worked it out.It seems that students this year have had to take a back seat.

Chloe Pearce, 18, from Northgate Sixth Form College, IpswichImage:Chloe Pearce said the grade change impacts if she'll get a bursaryI was very frustrated and rather angry at the whole system, at how the whole thing worked out.I had been looking forward to results day, I thought: 'I've got these grades in the bag, there's no reason I should be downgraded because there's evidence enough from my mocks and my work throughout the year to show I deserve the grades.'

It's just been a bit of shock to the system, really.My entire PE class had been downgraded. It's happened to everyone.I know lots of people in my class had offers for Loughborough, and they needed an A in PE for that. They've all missed out on those offers because it seems the highest offer anyone has got in PE is a B.

It's an absolute shambles. There are a lot of really disappointed students.I've got an unconditional offer at Suffolk, but this lower grade impacts on whether I can get a bursary. I'm really lucky I've got my uni place so I'm guaranteed that but the extra bursary would have really helped. It's going to be difficult."

At a school in east London, nearly half (47%) of the grades predicted by their teachers were modified downwards.Image:Wiktoria Sniadowska was planning to study fine artThe overwhelming feeling of many students at Leyton Sixth Form College is that their individual school achievements, recognised by their teachers, have been robbed by the algorithm.

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Wiktoria Sniadowska says she was predicted by her teachers to get A, A, A and hoped to study fine art - but the algorithm gave her B, B, C.She said:"They've ruined my results."And Shadman Siraz was hoping to get into King's College or Queen Mary University to study economics. He was expecting A, A, B but ended up getting B, B, C.

He said:"I don't have the grades to go to university. I don't feel I've been fairly marked - my predictions were way higher than this. I could have done better in an actual exam."Image:Shadman Siraz had all three grades moderated down

Head of maths at Leyton Sixth Form College, Nicholas Moore, said:"What appears to have happened is they've taken the historical results for an institution. They've taken the past results for a cohort of students - so not for the individual - and used that to predict the grades and then used the teachers ranking to generate who gets what grades.

"No account appears to have been taken for the actual centre-assessed grade which we spent hundreds of hours preparing."He added:"The problem with using ranking is when you rank 100 students what's the difference between 55 and 56 - but it's those students on the borderline that risk being downgraded."

In England, the government has outlined a"triple lock" process that could help students boost their results.This would allow a pupil to either accept their calculated grade, appeal to receive a valid mock result, or sit a new exam in the autumn.

Sally Collier, chief regulator of Ofqual, said:"I'm confident that results from the system that we've put in place are fair for the vast majority of students and I appreciate that there are individual students here with individual grades.

"No system could have predicted exactly what that student would've got had they taken their exams. Read more: Sky News »

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AngelaRayner So we all look forward with great anticipation for the new well thought out algorithm to allow for the bias mentioned. And all examination results could quite easily be recalculated and grades awarded appropriately, look forward for you presenting it to the government AngelaRayner Just waiting for Sky to come up with “Algorithm unfairly marks down the BAME community “

AngelaRayner It wasn't flawed, only 52% of teacher grade predictions are accurate for A* to C and only 20% for under C (UCAS study) last year 43% got lower than their predicted grade, 39% the year before. If your mock grades are higher, use them or if your so confident do the test in October. AngelaRayner Is Labour run Wales with a larger downgrade percentage doing that?

AngelaRayner Angela Rayner and A Grades is an oxymoron AngelaRayner 40% downgraded in England. In Labour run Wales it’s 42%. Stones. Glass houses. AngelaRayner Not just chaos, or a fiasco, but a chaotic fiasco. No hyperbole to see here. AngelaRayner They’re people who went private schools who got downgraded aswell!

AngelaRayner Being thick didn’t stop her becoming a Labour MP. AngelaRayner No sympathy if your're working class, voted Tory and your kids got robbed of a uni place. None whatsoever. Sorry for the kids that miss out. Blame your parents. AngelaRayner If someone who was marked as a B by their teacher & are now downgraded to an E, what logic is that based on? It doesn't make sense. The algorithm needs to be transparent in its logic.

AngelaRayner She also mentioned the 'English Government'. I can't remember any elections for an EnglishParliament, can you? AngelaRayner A grade C prediction to a U in Maths is surely a big concern and more than an alogorithm 🤔 AngelaRayner She needs upgraded AngelaRayner What!...even the white students?

AngelaRayner Fuck me Boris Johnson could solve world hunger bring peace to the Middle East, revitalise Africa and cure poverty but AngelaRayner would still find something to moan about her opinion is meaningless!!! AngelaRayner Typical Labour. No mind of their own. Might as well get Sturgeon as their leader!

AngelaRayner Whatschhh Scheeh on aboutch ? AngelaRayner She wants the government to keep lifting the grades until she qualifies for that first GCSE.

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Parents: how are you feeling about A-level results day?We want to hear from parents and young people on their thoughts and concerns ahead of A-level results day I'm feeling they're useless because you will never be anything more than a slave for the pedophiles who run the world i’m probably gonna kill myself at some point Qualifications are a waste of time. One of my neighbours is a GP and doesn't even have a medicine degree. The other is a plumber with no qualifications but earns more than the GP.