Common sense decision shows confidence in teachers

Published: January 6, 2021

Telford College has welcomed news that teachers’ estimated grades will be used to replace cancelled GCSEs and A levels this summer.

Principal and chief executive Graham Guest said he was delighted to hear education secretary Gavin Williamson tell MPs he would ‘trust in teachers rather than algorithms’ this time.

Last year’s attempts to find an alternative approach to exam results initially used an algorithm, which attempted to merge predicted grades with past performances at each education centre.

But the calculations descended into chaos, with more than 40% of predicted grades being altered, leaving many students fearing they may miss out on university places.

Mr Guest said: “We are aware that the decision to cancel A level and GCSE exams has come as a disappointment and frustration for many students.

“But at least we now know that we won’t have to cope with the distress, chaos and confusion that last year’s algorithm caused before being abandoned.

“Our staff put so much work and effort into putting the information together that went off to the awarding bodies last summer, and the thought of that being ignored again would have been distressing for everybody.

“So I welcome this vote of confidence in the expertise of our teaching staff, who are experienced professionals on the front line.”

In a statement to the House of Commons this afternoon, Mr Williamson said there would be ‘training and support’ to assist teachers in estimating grades, to ensure these are awarded ‘fairly and consistently’.