Students are worried employers will see TAGs as ‘fake grades’, says Ofqual advisers

exam grades

Students are worried employers will see their teacher assessed GCSEs as “fake grades”, Ofqual has said, as the regulator tries to quell fears about upcoming results days.

Child psychology and education experts have been speaking to students preparing to receive grades next month about their concerns.

The experts include Kevin Woods,  educational and child psychologist professor and Dr Tee McCaldin, an educational leadership and management expert, both at the University of Manchester.

Writing a blog for Ofqual, they said with exams cancelled and students instead being awarded quality assured teacher assessed grades this year, students “had worries around grades being seen differently by others in the future”.

“They were concerned that universities would be less likely to accept them, or that employers see them as ‘fake grades’,” they said.

Schools minister Nick Gibb

In response, the experts claim  “everyone is in the same situation” and that all organisations that deal with exam results – such as colleges, universities and employers – are aware of the system this year, so students will not be treated “differently because of how they were awarded”.

Concern about teacher bias

Some students thought their teacher might not know them well enough to give them a grade, that they “might even mix them up with someone else in the class” or teachers may be biased towards different pupils.

The experts said that checks will ensure grades are “accurate for students and consistent across schools” as there has been time to plan this year and “learn from how things were done last year”.

The blog also offers strategies for students to cope with worry about grades, such as breathing techniques, and says “not getting the results you hope for it never ‘the end of the world’.”

GCSE and A-level grades are in the process of being finalised ahead of results days in the week of August 9.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said on Thursday that 99.9 per cent of all TAGs had been submitted. As of last Wednesday, 99.5 per cent of centres submitted evidence to back up grades as requested by exam boards, with 90 per cent submitted within the 48 hours.

The schools minister said where evidence “has raised questions”, centres received a virtual visit and “on some occasions have been asked to review grades”.

Gibb insisted they are “meaningful qualifications” that will “help young people go onto the next stage of their lives”.

‘Record’ number of students expected to start university

UCAS has said it is predicting that a rise in university applications and offers would lead to a “record number” of students starting university or college in the autumn.

For 18 year olds in the United Kingdom, there was a 10 per cent increase in applicants and a 12 per cent increase in applications from last year. This resulted in a 10 per cent increase in offers from universities and colleges.

UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant said universities are “ready to welcome more students” and “have worked hard to be flexible”.

But the Sunday Times reported that private schools have been accused of “playing the system” by lobbying top universities and medical schools to take pupils whose performance is too weak to qualify for a place.

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