David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

#ALevelResults #ResultsDay - Association of Colleges (@AoC_info) calls for urgent review into #ALevel standardisation process as many colleges have over half their grades downgraded

Responding to today's A Levels results and the downgrading of many student's grades, AoC's Chief Executive, David Hughes said: 

“My congratulations go out to the many college students who will have received the results they deserve and need to successfully realise their ambitions. Thanks to their hard work and the efforts of college staff, most students will be able to progress to the next stage of their education despite all the disruption this year.  

"However, we are deeply concerned that the adjustment process may have disadvantaged larger centres such as colleges and those with historically strong value added data. There seem to be inconsistencies across the board. While 39.1% of Centre Assessment Grades were adjusted down by one or more grade overall, we are hearing from a number of colleges that over 50% of their grades have been adjusted downwards. Colleges with large cohorts and very stable and predictable results over time are seeing their lowest grade profile ever, particularly at the higher grades, A to C. Because on average more disadvantaged students attend further education colleges this may have resulted in a systemic bias.

"It is for this reason that I have written to the Education Secretary and the Chief Regulator of Ofqual this morning to ask for an urgent technical review into the A Level results standardisation process. If colleges, and subsequently many disadvantaged students have been hit by an unfair or inconsistent process then this needs to be investigated immediately – and adjustments made quickly. This should not be left to individual colleges or students having to use the appeals process.”

The full letter to Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson and Ofqual's Chief Regulator, Sally Collier:

Dear Gavin and Sally,

I am writing to ask OfQual and DfE to launch and announce an urgent technical review into the A Level results standardisation process for larger centres.

Some of our members with larger numbers of A Level students, and often with students disproportionately from disadvantaged backgrounds are reporting to us some very worrying data. It would appear that the standardisation process may have been biased against larger centres and those with high value-added scores.

The evidence that some colleges are reporting is that their higher grade passes (A to C) are much lower than their historic results, over the last 3 years. In other colleges the A to C pass rate has increased compared with historical data. That inconsistency is worrying. The overall pass rates are in line and do not seem to be such an issue. So this is not about overoptimistic assessed grades, it is about actual performance.

The algorithm has also potentially missed strong increases in performance in the last one or two years by a number of colleges. That is clearly something which would have been difficult to pick up in a process across thousands of centres.

However, it would be very helpful for you to make clear the appeal process for colleges in that position and promise prompt consideration. Our hypothesis is that the worrying results might be a quirk of the process, in which smaller centres with lower student numbers systematically had their centre assessed grades confirmed, resulting in a hit for the larger centres in order to minimise overall grade inflation.

We also believe that the algorithm may not have taken value added data into account adequately.

A technical review now could examine that and would avert hundreds of colleges from having to make individual appeals. It would show that you are being transparent and taking the concerns seriously. It would allow the majority of students to focus on their next steps and move forward in confirming their HE places, apprenticeships or jobs but also offer a robust backstop.

It would calm the mood and we would warmly welcome it and support you in carrying it out. We will, of course, continue to encourage colleges and students to focus on progression and to be positive about the prospects of young people.

It is clear that the majority of students will achieve the grades they need and want, but that is not sufficient for the process to be deemed fair if it has been systematically biased against college students and/or disadvantaged students.

We recognise fully that this is an exceptional year and have worked closely with DfE and OfQual officials, as well as with awarding organisations to support the approach taken. We are fully committed to working with you moving forwards to help ensure a resilient and robust system which we can all be confident in. But we cannot stand by when the evidence suggests that many thousands of students may have missed out on their grades because of a systemic bias.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Yours Sincerely,

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page