Lib Dems claim 90,000 plus pupils could miss out on top grades under 2022 exam plans

90,644 children could lose out on the top grades for GCSEs and A Levels this year due to Government plans on exam grading, claims new analysis by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

It comes as Ofqual today confirms arrangements for this summer’s GCSEs and A levels, along with details on what mitigations will be in place.

Some subjects will receive advance information regarding exam content, while those that will not will provide students will be tested on fewer topics.

The government says exams and formal assessments will go ahead as planned this summer following two years of disruption duet to Covid.

The Chief Regulator of Ofqual, Dr Jo Saxton, plans to set the grading boundaries in a way that “reflects a mid-point between 2021 and pre-pandemic grading”.

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats suggests this would mean 24,524 GCSE pupils missing out on grade 7,8 or 9, and 66,120 A-level students missing out on As or A*s compared to the grading system used last year.

The Lib Dems have called the move “arbitrary and senseless” as every year of this student cohort’s studies for GCSEs and A Levels has been disrupted by the pandemic. Each student in this cohort is expected to have missed at least 376 hours of education since March 2020, a total of almost 500 million hours of schooling lost across the cohort taking exams this year.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a hybrid approach to grades this year, which would use a combination of traditional exams together with input through teacher assessments to ensure each pupil receives a grade which reflects their ability.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey, said

“Once again, the Conservatives have shown a complete disregard for children whose education has been disrupted by the pandemic.

“Students taking exams this year have had their entire course affected by the pandemic – from the start through to the finish. Lowering grades this year is arbitrary, senseless and heartless when the pandemic is still ongoing.

“Our children have worked as hard as they can in incredibly difficult circumstances and their grades should reflect their hard work, instead of being artificially reduced by a thoughtless Government.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said ahead of today’s announcement: “Exams are the best and fairest form of assessment, and we firmly intend for them to take place this summer, giving students a fair chance to show what they know.

“We know students have faced challenges during the pandemic, which is why we’ve put fairness for them at the forefront of our plans. The information to help with their revision published today, as well as the range of other adaptations, will make sure they can do themselves justice in their exams this summer.”