Exam U-Turn

I’m really – really – confused at the moment with our leadership: A Level and GCSE results followed by the Government doing a complete U-Turn with the marking system. Was the computer algorithm system really going to be a positive move?

Some predicted A Level grades were denied leaving kids in shock, completely obliterating their confidence resulting in college and university places being denied.  These kids aren’t letting it go lightly, and protests began. 

The whole results system has been fraught with so much confusion and the Government relying on an algorithm to stop grade inflation.

First Scotland, then Northern Ireland, Wales and finally England decided to adjust the results and give students “centre assessed grades”, determined by teachers and schools. Grades generated by the algorithm were only kept if they were higher than the CAGs.

And the court of public opinion did NOT look favourably on the people in charge of all of this…

And I don’t think the controversy will be over anytime soon…

I just saw this article in the Guardian yesterday about how some schools are considering appealing some of the “too high” scores that they say are unwarranted. Grades generated by the algorithm were only retained if they were higher than the CAGs. Some school heads fear results raised by algorithm will set pupils up to fail. According to figures released by Ofqual, the proportion of the highest GCSE grades awarded in England this year jumped by 26%.

Mental Health Impact

The Coronavirus lockdown, prior closure of schools, and now the GCSE results have led to fears of the long-term impact on the mental health of students. How much more stress can these kids take?

Young Minds carried out a survey with 2,036 young people with a history of mental health needs between Friday 6th June and Monday 5th July, a period in which the Government announced measures to ease restrictions, including the target for schools to reopen to all students in the Autumn term.
The results revealed that:
  • 80% of respondents agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse. 41% said it had made their mental health “much worse”, up from 32% in the previous survey in March. This was often related to increased feelings of anxiety, isolation, a loss of coping mechanisms or a loss of motivation.
  • 87% of respondents agreed that they had felt lonely or isolated during the lockdown period, even though 71% had been able to stay in touch with friends. 
  • Among more than 1,000 respondents who were accessing mental health support in the three months leading up the crisis (including from the NHS, school and university counsellors, private providers, charities and helplines), 31% said they were no longer able to access support but still needed it.
  • Of those who had not been accessing support immediately before the crisis, 40% said that they had not looked for support but were struggling with their mental health
  • 11% of respondents said that their mental health had improved during the crisis, an increase from 6% in the previous survey. This was often because they felt it was beneficial to be away from the pressures of their normal life (e.g. bullying or academic pressure at school)

What are your thoughts? Have you or your children been impacted by the GCSE debacle? Leave a comment below or come join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

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