Opinions on Ofqual’s Consultation

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ashtolga23
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Hi all, I just completed the consultation form and I have to give it to them that it’s very thorough.

I’m not convinced about some of their suggested ideas, for instance it seemed like the exams they wanted to go ahead with would be difficult to standardise and easy to cheat on. I also strongly feel it would be a mistake to keep exam years in for the rest of the academic year, as I made clear in my responses (I can go into my reasoning if anyone wishes). Having said this, the suggested appeals process looked great to me, and it’s also good to see that they’re looking into all the areas I’d want them to.

Have you completed it, or do you at least plan to? What do you think of the suggestions?
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Imane888
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I am happy with the suggestions but I want:
-Strict external moderation
-Pupils to be given the choice to sit full regular exams if they choose to do so
-an early results day
-have these schools sit mini exams on the same day e.g all schools must sit mini exam X on June 30th and marked externally so that it's fair and the mini test can be used on grounds for appeal
- A way of people being able to tell whether a 2020&2021 grade was achieved via an external, official, standardised exam or not (have an asterisk or something).
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Imane888)
I am happy with the suggestions but I want:
-Strict external moderation
-Pupils to be given the choice to sit full regular exams if they choose to do so
-an early results day
-have these schools sit mini exams on the same day e.g all schools must sit mini exam X on June 30th and marked externally so that it's fair and the mini test can be used on grounds for appeal
- A way of people being able to tell whether a 2020&2021 grade was achieved via an external, official, standardised exam or not (have an asterisk or something).
Ahh okay, I’m conflicted with yours haha. I most definitely agree with an early results day. I think the TAGs should be moderated strictly, with very explicit guidance and spot checks, but I’m undecided with exams.

I feel like sitting exams if preferred sounds nice, but it creates a whole host of problems with standardisation, surely? I agree if they were to go ahead they’d need to be on the same day though. I know they asked if the paper should even be released to prevent unfairness from leaks which seems ludicrous in my eyes! Preventing that kind of outcome is definitely important.
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Imane888
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
Ahh okay, I’m conflicted with yours haha. I most definitely agree with an early results day. I think the TAGs should be moderated strictly, with very explicit guidance and spot checks, but I’m undecided with exams.

I feel like sitting exams if preferred sounds nice, but it creates a whole host of problems with standardisation, surely? I agree if they were to go ahead they’d need to be on the same day though. I know they asked if the paper should even be released to prevent unfairness from leaks which seems ludicrous in my eyes! Preventing that kind of outcome is definitely important.
I don't want an algorithm though because it doesn't work. There's already no standardisation with CAGs therefore people who don't want CAGs but want full exams should have that option.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Imane888)
I don't want an algorithm though because it doesn't work. There's already no standardisation with CAGs therefore people who don't want CAGs but want full exams should have that option.
There’s already no algorithm. TAGs would assess students differently to CAGs.
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Imane888
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
There’s already no algorithm. TAGs would assess students differently to CAGs.
There's still no standardisation when it comes to TAGs anyway (bias, discrimination, different mocks in different schools, different exam conditions and grade boundaries. The list goes on and on) therefore I fail to see how pupils who want to sit real, proper, standardised, external exams (especially private candidates and resit students) should be denied this opportunity based on the statement "but it creates a whole host of problems with standardisation, surely?". Plus I want my grades to be taken seriously by employers without any issues.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Imane888)
There's still no standardisation when it comes to TAGs anyway (bias, discrimination, different mocks in different schools, different exam conditions and grade boundaries. The list goes on and on) therefore I fail to see how pupils who want to sit real, proper, standardised, external exams (especially private candidates and resit students) should be denied this opportunity based on the statement "but it creates a whole host of problems with standardisation, surely?". Plus I want my grades to be taken seriously by employers without any issues.
While this is all very true, I suppose I’m thinking about how different TAGs and exams are. Ofqual could regulate how teachers assess grades, and like I say the proposals for an appeals process look promising. If some students are getting these grades and others sit exams, it almost seems like a different qualification.

Maybe this is just on the surface, but that’s my initial worry.
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cactussalad
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I just did it. Its nice to see there looking at different options, especially the early results day but not giving it to unis later.

Can I ask why you think we shouldn't stay in school to the end of the year? I got the impression that we would leave pretty soon after the normal exam period
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by cactussalad)
I just did it. Its nice to see there looking at different options, especially the early results day but not giving it to unis later.

Can I ask why you think we shouldn't stay in school to the end of the year? I got the impression that we would leave pretty soon after the normal exam period
This is the answer I gave them:
Name:  920A414C-6B80-4E46-8055-5AE6BAE08954.jpeg
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Size:  73.0 KB

I hope you can see it okay but tell me if not!
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Imane888
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
While this is all very true, I suppose I’m thinking about how different TAGs and exams are. Ofqual could regulate how teachers assess grades, and like I say the proposals for an appeals process look promising. If some students are getting these grades and others sit exams, it almost seems like a different qualification.

Maybe this is just on the surface, but that’s my initial worry.
There's still not going to be full standardisation and not everyone is going to get a TAG this year so they need that exam (not going get one for 1 A-level).
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cactussalad
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
This is the answer I gave them:
Name:  920A414C-6B80-4E46-8055-5AE6BAE08954.jpeg
Views: 18
Size:  73.0 KB

I hope you can see it okay but tell me if not!
I get where you're coming from - it is v. stressful with every bit of work counting atm. What would we do for the rest of the year though? Theres no guarantee that people would actually be productive. Lots of people applying to some courses like medicine spent the first term of yr13 prepping for UCAT/BMAT/ interviews - I know I could have done a lot better on my mocks if those things weren't there and stopping school now would mean more emphasis on last term.

Also if we're doing the optional/mini exams, we should probably be in school so we can prepare in the best way, at home its just not the same.
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Imane888
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(Original post by Imane888)
There's still not going to be full standardisation and not everyone is going to get a TAG this year so they need that exam (not going get one for 1 A-level).
And frankly surely the 2019 qualifications and prior could be seen a "different" to some employers compared to the overinflated 2020&2021 qualifications. What about 2020 cohort students who sat the autumn exams vs those who did not? Exact same logic could be applied.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by cactussalad)
I get where you're coming from - it is v. stressful with every bit of work counting atm. What would we do for the rest of the year though? Theres no guarantee that people would actually be productive. Lots of people applying to some courses like medicine spent the first term of yr13 prepping for UCAT/BMAT/ interviews - I know I could have done a lot better on my mocks if those things weren't there and stopping school now would mean more emphasis on last term.

Also if we're doing the optional/mini exams, we should probably be in school so we can prepare in the best way, at home its just not the same.
I think that's up to the individuals really. I'd love to take advantage of all that free time; personally I'd divide it between time with my boyfriend (if lockdowns allow) and lots of reading. I'd hope that the beauty of TAGs means teachers can see students who've had other concerns in context, and if we work until April that's still quite a lot of time to show your true potential. Last year was obviously chaotic because of the algorithm, but I think they can still be used to show that school doesn't have to end as usual. If they decided to go for April to allow for more appeals time and earlier results then we'd still be finishing a month later than last year.

As for mini exams, I suppose that's true. You can probably tell that I'm fairly against exams this year as I just don't think it's going to be a level playing field at all, but let's assume they became optional. Schools could stay open for those who want to attend, just as they would in schools that give exam years the option to come in during the exam period. At home it's definitely not the same; I do feel that, and I've had to do it since September to shield vulnerable family members, which is one reason I'm really close to running on empty I think. However, this is kind of my point. Continuing the academic year as normal means that when schools reopen, there's going to be even more time for those at school to overtake those at home, and it's stressful for people whether they choose to stay at home or attend in person. I just don't see this working, and I think if there's a chance the next academic year will be delayed because there won't be enough time for the proposed appeals, we just need to finish early.

I'm really sorry if this is unclear. I've just been working on my EPQ so I'm a little tired, and I'm trying to explain as concisely as possible haha.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Imane888)
And frankly surely the 2019 qualifications and prior could be seen a "different" to some employers compared to the overinflated 2020&2021 qualifications. What about 2020 cohort students who sat the autumn exams vs those who did not? Exact same logic could be applied.
I kinda get what you mean.

As for the autumn exams, at least they’re one standardised series. Like I say, this is a gut reaction so may not be thought through right, but it just doesn’t sit right with me that two people going through the exact same exam season could come out with the same grade under wildly different circumstances.
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Tolgash
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(Original post by Imane888)
There's still not going to be full standardisation and not everyone is going to get a TAG this year so they need that exam (not going get one for 1 A-level).
(Original post by Imane888)
And frankly surely the 2019 qualifications and prior could be seen a "different" to some employers compared to the overinflated 2020&2021 qualifications. What about 2020 cohort students who sat the autumn exams vs those who did not? Exact same logic could be applied.
It very rarely comes down to A Levels in employment. Another thing is that Ofqual have said that CAGs have the same status as every other year. Universuties had to accept them, after all.
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Imane888
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(Original post by Tolgash)
It very rarely comes down to A Levels in employment. Another thing is that Ofqual have said that CAGs have the same status as every other year. Universuties had to accept them, after all.
That doesn't mean that employers won't find a petty excuse (especially for competitive jobs like IB and Law). As someone has said on here before employers do not have to listen to ofqual.
Last edited by Imane888; 1 month ago
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Imane888
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
I kinda get what you mean.

As for the autumn exams, at least they’re one standardised series. Like I say, this is a gut reaction so may not be thought through right, but it just doesn’t sit right with me that two people going through the exact same exam season could come out with the same grade under wildly different circumstances.
So people from the 2020 cohort should be forced to take out another gap year? And people from the 2019 cohort a 3rd⁈ your standardisation argument is flawed as TAGs are never standardised.
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ashtolga23
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(Original post by Imane888)
So people from the 2020 cohort should be forced to take out another gap year? And people from the 2019 cohort a 3rd⁈ your standardisation argument is flawed as TAGs are never standardised.
Gosh, calm down. You seemed to be saying that those who sat the autumn exams VS those who didn’t would also face the problem of it being the same qualification gained in wildly different circumstances. I kind of see your point here, but I was just saying it seems more like a new exam series, so at least it feels like it will be more standardised in that way.

Nobody is forcing anybody to take a gap year. I’ve fully admitted that the niggle about standardisation may be flawed as it’s more my initial feeling than something I’ve found through lots of research.

Just trying to discuss something here.
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Imane888
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(Original post by ashtolga23)
Gosh, calm down. You seemed to be saying that those who sat the autumn exams VS those who didn’t would also face the problem of it being the same qualification gained in wildly different circumstances. I kind of see your point here, but I was just saying it seems more like a new exam series, so at least it feels like it will be more standardised in that way.

Nobody is forcing anybody to take a gap year. I’ve fully admitted that the niggle about standardisation may be flawed as it’s more my initial feeling than something I’ve found through lots of research.

Just trying to discuss something here.
I meant that if pupils were forced to sit autumn exams they would have to take out a gap year so effectively forcing resit students to take out another pointless a gap year (doubt that unis will delay their start dates). I mean I personally don't care about having to take out a gap year, but I know that 2020&2019 cohort pupils will be annoyed about this or private candidates.
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Tolgash
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(Original post by Imane888)
That doesn't mean that employers won't find a petty excuse (especially for competitive jobs like IB and Law). As someone has said on here before employers do not have to listen to ofqual.
However, it very rarely comes down to A Levels, even for competitive jobs. Interviews, aptitude-test scores, your alma mater, degree classification and work experience all greatly supersede that, even connections may come into play.
Last edited by Tolgash; 1 month ago
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