Student calls on Education Minister to change 'devastating' grading system

A student has written a letter to the Kirsty Williams calling for a change to the "chaotic and unfair" grading system.

Wales' education minister defended this year's A-level results, amid mounting criticism that students have been "short-changed" by a controversial grading system.

Exams were cancelled across the UK due to the coronavirus lockdown, with students instead being given A-level grades estimated by their teachers. But thousands of results deemed "optimistic" were subsequently adjusted down by moderators in a process known as standardisation.

A total of 42.2% of pupils were downgraded during the process which has left many frustrated and upset, with calls for an urgent review.

Jonathon Powell, who is the Wrexham representative for the Youth Parliament, shared his letter, which has been signed by 15 other members, which claims students have been ''let down and abandoned'' and should be awarded their teacher assessed grades.

He wrote, ''How is it justifiable that A*s are brought down to Bs? While I accept that without standardisation there would be overinflation in the grades. Teachers know theirstudents far better than any algorithm or standardisation model possibly could.''

Jonathon's grades were downgraded from 3 A*s and 2 As to one A and four B's. He has still managed to secure a place at Oxford University to study Law but said the letter is on behalf of all students treated "unfairly".

''We would encourage the Welsh Government to apologise for risking the future careers of so many Welsh students, One of our priorities is the mental health of young people. The stress of lockdown and dealing with the coronavirus has been a significant challenge for many not to mention the stress of receiving results that they have not sat exams for. This A-Level results day has been devastating,'' he added.

Kirsty Williams defended the A-level results system, amid mounting criticism that students have been "short-changed". Credit: ITV Wales

On Thursday, Kirsty Williams dismissed teachers' claims that results day has been "demoralising".

"I'm sorry that teachers feel that way," Ms Williams told ITV News, adding that many are delighted with today's results.

"The decision to cancel the exams in the first place was one that was not taken lightly, but clearly was the right one to make. I'm confident that today we have fair and robust qualifications for our students."

Read more: