My A Level results were released at 10:00am on Monday. I woke up at 9:45am that day without an alarm. Lost in that hazy space between sleep and wakefulness, with eyes closed I stretched my arm across my bedside to reach for my phone. This was the first time I had done something like this. I nervously sifted through my screen to locate an email by Cambridge International hidden deep beneath spam messages and irrelevant notifications. I nervously logged into my result portal, and stared blankly at my screen for 15 minutes as fleeting thoughts racked my brain. After what felt like an eternity, my morning alarm rang- It finally struck 10:00am. I took a deep breath, and with shaky fingers, pressed a button that would define my years of hard work.
This week, hundreds of thousands of students across the globe logged into their result portals introduced by Cambridge International to receive their assessed grades. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, this year Cambridge International took the decision to halt exams for it’s worldwide June 2020 series. Under the grade prediction system introduced by CAIE due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 950,000 grades were issued to almost 4,000 schools in 139 countries. CAIE authorities engaged with schools, teachers, education facilities and governments to develop a system that would be fair, reliable, and accepted by universities- or so they hoped.
While some students were overjoyed that they had received their predicted, or better than predicted results, the majority of students were left stunned with their 'disappointing' grades. These makeshift results have come under severe criticism by students, parents and teachers alike.
Analysis has shown that nearly 40% of A-Level grades are to be downgraded. This means that approximately 300,000 A-Levels issued are lower than teacher assessment of the more than 730,000 A-Level entries this year. There was an uproar in Scotland last week after results were released- exam authorities rejected hundreds of thousands of grades from teachers. As a consequence, many A-Level students were unable to meet their UK university offers, seeing their futures and hard work compromised.
The makeshift grade prediction system depends on a student’s previous performance in tests, exams, and CAIES. CAIE authorities determine a student’s capabilities through these means- the Ofqual’s statistical model. Teachers, having compiled student ranking, also play a big role in this decision.
Students may be able to appeal if they find a major difference between assessed grades and performance in school, Ofqual announced. Some students have signed up for exams in the October/November series, however those who were expected to meet their offers have little choice. Yet, recently announced information has given some students hope- Scotland stated that the 124,564 downgraded results will revert to grades estimated by teachers.
While students are scrambling to write to their universities and ask for them to reconsider their grades, many still hope that Cambridge International will change their results after appealing. Students in Karachi are holding protests this week to grab the attention of Cambridge in helping them through this strained predicament.