Poor kids more likely to see grades slashed than their richer classmates, exam bosses admit

POOR youngsters were slightly more likely to see their grades slashed than their richer classmates in the A Levels chaos.

And private schools were given twice as many A and A* grades than comprehensives.

Exam bosses furiously denied the system was unfair and blamed teachers for dishing out overly generous marks to poorer kids.

Michelle Meadows, from exam bosses Ofqual said: “The research literature of A level predictions for university entrance shows there is a tendency to be more generous for students of lower socio economic status.

“So there will be a tendency for there to be more generosity.

“The important thing is to look at the analysis for the end grades students take away – you can see there is no evidence of systematic bias.”

But a higher proportion of poorer kids were booted out of the A* – C grade bracket than their counterparts, the data showed.

A staggering 49 per cent of all grades dished out to private schools were As or A*s, Ofqual data shows.

This jumped 5 per cent in just one year.

In stark contrast, just 22 per cent of grades given to pupils in comps were As or As – up 2 per cent on last year.

On the most chaotic A-level results day in years:

  • Fresh data showed record levels of As and A*s despite the crisis – up by 2.4 per cent on last year
  • 98.3 per cent of students across the UK passed their A-levels with grades A – E
  • But some students were left in tears because they didn't get the grades they hoped for
  • Experts warned that poorer kids were more likely to have their gradesmarked down by moderators
  • 35.1 per cent of A-level students received 1 grade lower than their teachers marked them
  • Gavin Williamson admitted the appeals system isn't ready yet as thousands prepare to try and use their mocks as final grades
  • Maths remains the most popular subject at A level with a 2.5% increase in entries this year – and more pupils did English too
  • More kids are set to go to university this year – including a record number of 18 year olds from the most disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Anxious students were left unable to find out if they bagged their dream university spot after the UCAS website crashed

Poorer pupils were also slightly more likely to have their grades moderated down by the computer algorithm.

Some 10.5 per cent of students from the poorest socio economic background had an A Level cut to below a C.

But just 8.3 per cent of richer ones did.

Around 300,000 school leavers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland excitedly opened their calculated grades this morning .

A breakdown of the results released this morning have revealed the pass rates are up by 0.7% (those achieving A*-E) from both 2019 and 2018. A*s were only introduced in 2009.


Teachers initially gave all their students marks based on what they thought they would get.

And then computers and moderators were used to standardise the results.

Exam boards downgraded nearly two in five (39.1 per cent) pupils’ grades in England, according to data from exam regulator Ofqual.

The Government announced late on Tuesday that students in England will have the "safety net" of being able to use mock exam results as the basis for an appeal if they are higher than the calculated grade.

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