Commenting on A Level, Applied General and other Level 3 qualification results,Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“The Union congratulates all students receiving their A-Level, Applied General and other Level 3 qualification results today. They have kept going through the pandemic and through years of austerity. Their determination and resilience, alongside the efforts of educators, parents and carers who support them, deserve great credit.
‘Exam results should not be taken as a valid measure of school quality. It would be wrong to compare results at a national level with those of previous years. It would also be wrong to use them to compare individual schools and colleges. Different methods of assessment have been used, different levels of pandemic disruption have been experienced and Ofqual has implemented different approaches to grading from one year to the next.
‘The efforts of parents, students and teachers are not matched by the quality of the exam system. The decision to return abruptly to pre-pandemic grading risks damaging the future of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, whose lives and learning have already been hit hard by the pandemic.
‘The exam system itself is badly in need of reform. The ways in which students and their schools and colleges are judged does not do them justice. Just as is the case with blunt, one-word Ofsted judgments, one figure calculated from the results of exams cannot alone demonstrate everything about the education on offer at a school or college. Relying on end-of-course exams does not allow students to demonstrate all they are capable of.
‘As the Independent Assessment Commission has argued, the demand for change is growing. There is a wide consensus that a curriculum and assessment review in England working towards a broader, fairer, more reliable and more inclusive assessment system is urgently required”.