NI pupils to receive highest awarded A-level results

Education Minister Peter Weir gives a press conference outlining a change to the awarding of A-levels, despite pupils having already received results.
Education Minister Peter Weir made the decision after A-level results were released and just days before the GCSE results are due to be released. Credit: PA

Pupils in Northern Ireland will now receive the highest A-level grades awarded to them by either teachers or the exams body, amid controversy over results for both A-levels and GCSEs.

GCSE students will be awarded grades predicted by their teachers.

The decision comes after numerous pupils were left disappointed by lower than expected A-level results and before the publication just three days away of GCSE results.

“I have today instructed CCEA (Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment) that all of their AS and A-level qualifications will now be awarded the higher of the grade submitted by their centre or the grade calculated by CCEA,” Education Minister Peter Weir said, at a press conference on Monday afternoon.

“CCEA is working to release the revised results to candidates as quickly as possible. In the interim, students will be able to access details of their Centre Assessed Grade from their school or college.”

Mr Weir added that the decision had been taken so that students in Northern Ireland were not at a disadvantage compared to those in England, Scotland and Wales.

“Portability and comparability of qualifications is critical for students, particularly in Northern Ireland,” he said.

Mr Weir announced the move regarding A-levels, having already scrapped a plan that would have calculated GCSEs using a mathematical model that took into account the past performance of schools.

That move affects grades issued by Northern Ireland exams body, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.

CCEA accounts for 97% of all GCSEs taken in the region.

A statement from CCEA said: “CCEA welcomes the education minister’s decision following advice given regarding summer 2020 GCSE awards.

“These will now be based solely on the centre assessment grades provided by schools and colleges.

“We will work immediately to implement this decision, with GCSE results published on Thursday 20 August 2020.”

Meanwhile, the Assembly is still set to be recalled from summer recess on Tuesday to debate the furore caused by the standardisation formula used for A-levels.