Just Sociology

The Validity and Reliability of UK A-Level Results: Comparing Exam Results and Teacher Awarded Grades

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the education sector globally, leading to the cancellation of many exams, including the A-levels. The UK government awarded grades based on teacher assessments in 2021, which differed significantly from the 2019 exam results.

The controversy surrounding the teacher awarded grades and the discrepancies between the 2019 and 2021 results have raised concerns about the validity, reliability, and objectivity of the two assessment methods. This academic article compares the A-level results of 2019 and 2021, examining the differences between exam results and teacher awarded grades, the assessment and marking procedures, and the validity of the two types of grades.

The article also explores the potential implications of the 2021 results for future education policy and A-level results.

Difference between Exam Results and Teacher Awarded Grades

The difference between the exam results of 2019 and the teacher awarded grades of 2021 is significant. Exam results tend to be more reliable and valid than teacher awarded grades due to their standardised nature.

Exams follow strict protocols and procedures, which ensure that all students are assessed using the same level of difficulty and content. This standardisation assures that the results are reliable and valid as they measure what they are intended to measure.

In contrast, teacher awarded grades may vary from one teacher to another, specific weaknesses or strengths of a particular student may influence teachers, and teachers may differ in their interpretation of assessment criteria. A lack of objectivity and standardisation can compromise the validity and reliability of teacher awarded grades.

Assessment and Marking Procedures of 2019 Exam and 2021 Teacher Awarded Grades

The assessment and marking procedures of the 2019 exam and the 2021 teacher awarded grades differ significantly. In 2019, assessments were undertaken in examination halls under strict supervision, ensuring that students were not exposed to external help or collusion.

Blind marking ensured that markers could not identify individual students or their background, thus reducing the risk of subjective and discriminatory marking. In contrast, teacher awarded grades involved teachers assessing individual students using historical data, mock exam results, and observations in class.

The lack of objectivity and standardisation in the assessment process made it difficult to achieve reliable or valid results. Validity of 2019 Exam Results vs.

2021 Teacher Awarded Grades

The validity of the 2019 exam results and the 2021 teacher awarded grades varies in terms of ecological validity, objectivity, standardisation, and their impact on the job market. Ecological validity refers to the extent to which an assessment method reflects the real-world environment in which the skill or knowledge is applicable.

The 2019 exam results have ecological validity since they measure precisely what they intended to measure in their standardised setting. In contrast, the teacher awarded grades may lack ecological validity, as they are not based on actual assessments and do not reflect the real-world environment.

Objectivity and standardisation are critical features of validity, and the 2019 exam results tend to have higher levels of objectivity and standardisation. Although the 2021 teacher awarded grades had some level of objectivity and standardisation, they were still subject to personal bias and other external factors such as school and teacher’s reputation.

Challenges in Evaluating Future A-level Results

The controversy surrounding the teacher awarded grades and the discrepancies with the 2019 exam results present significant challenges for evaluating future A-level results. The reinstatement of exams may be perceived as a return to normality, but the lack of inclusivity, fairness, and potential social bias could lead to adverse outcomes.

For example, students from disadvantaged backgrounds may find it challenging to catch up, leading to lower grades and a disadvantage in the job market. The adverse effects of the pandemic on the education sector should warrant inclusive and fair outcomes in future education policy and A-level results.

Education Policy Institute’s Analysis of 2021 A-level Results

The Education Policy Institute’s analysis of the 2021 A-level results revealed that teacher awarded grades lacked objective analysis of student achievement. The report pointed out that students from disadvantaged backgrounds could have benefitted from a more standardised and objective assessment process, which could have reduced the risks of cultural, social, or linguistic biases.

The report also highlighted the need for greater transparency in how teacher assessments were moderated to ensure that external factors did not influence subjectivity.

Conclusion

The A-level results of 2019 and 2021 differ significantly in their assessment and marking procedures, validity, reliability, and objectivity. The controversy surrounding teacher awarded grades and the impact of the pandemic on the education sector underscores the need for inclusive and fair outcomes in future education policy and A-level results.

Standardisation and objectivity are critical features of assessment, and the reinstatement of exams should consider reducing the risks of cultural, linguistic, or social biases that may affect disadvantaged students. Educators, policymakers, and stakeholders should account for the potential implications of the 2021 A-level results and constructively address the challenges presented by the impact of the pandemic on the education sector.

In conclusion, the UK A-level results of 2019 and 2021 represent distinct variations in their assessment and marking procedures, validity, reliability, and objectivity. The pandemic has affected the education sector globally, leading to controversies and concerns about the fairness and inclusivity of future examination results.

The implications of the 2021 A-level results call for transparency, standardisation, and objectivity in education policy and assessment procedures. Education stakeholders should constructively recognise the challenges and work collaboratively towards inclusivity and equity in education outcomes.

FAQs

1. What is the difference between exam results and teacher awarded grades?

Exam results are scored based on standardised protocols, while teacher awarded grades may vary significantly from one teacher to another. 2.

How do assessment and marking procedures differ between the 2019 exam and 2021 teacher awarded grades? In 2019, assessments were taken in examination halls under strict supervision and blind marking to reduce the risk of subjective and discriminatory marking.

In contrast, teacher awarded grades involved teachers assessing individual students, increasing the risk of individual biases and disparities. 3.

Why are 2019 exam results more valid and reliable than 2021 teacher awarded grades? The standardisation in exams ensures that they measure what they are intended to measure, showing higher levels of objectivity, reliability, and validity than teacher awarded grades.

4. What challenges face future A-level results?

The reinstatement of exams may be seen as a return to normality, but it presents challenges in terms of inclusivity and fairness, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 5.

What has the Education Policy Institute’s analysis of the 2021 A-level results revealed? The report highlighted the lack of objective analysis in teacher awarded grades and the need for greater transparency in moderating external factors to reduce subjectivity.

Popular Posts