ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon has congratulated all A-level students for their efforts and says they — along with universities and employers — can be confident they have been awarded fair and accurate grades.
He spoke out as the backlash began over grade inflation that has meant nearly 45 per cent of A-level entries were awarded A or A* grades — a figure that reached 70 per cent in the independent sector.
Commentators have expressed concerns that the arrangements for assessment in Covid times, coupled with a gap in levels of provision, have led to a “chasm” opening between private and state schools.
Barnaby Lenon said: “Well done to every pupil receiving results. These young people, and their teachers, have worked hard in difficult circumstances and they now need to move forward with confidence in the grades they have achieved.
“Our focus is on celebrating the achievements of all pupils at every school, ensuring they have the support they may need to take their next steps in life.
“This has been another exceptional year, with an assessment system that has never been used before — one that Ofqual designed to be the best it deemed possible in particularly challenging circumstances. It would therefore be unwise to try and make comparisons with other years.
“This year’s assessment process required the same approach from every school; to collect a portfolio of evidence to support grade decisions and to have several teachers review grade determinations before they are signed off by heads of subject or another designated teacher.
“Grades were then submitted to exam boards, which would look for unusual grade profiles and investigate where appropriate as part of the external quality assurance process. Ofqual’s own analysis found, irrespective of the type of school or college, the grades were largely supported by the quality of students’ work. We also now know that less than 1 per cent of schools were asked to change their A-level grades as a result of this process.
“Students can have confidence they have been awarded fair and accurate grades, and so can universities and employers.”