The Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) has agreed to revise the grades issued for the June 2020 series and has announced that the grades will not be lower than the predicted grade submitted by the school, adding that “if a grade that was issued last week higher than the predicted grade, the higher grade will stand”.
Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood announced the decision on social media and expressed his relief over the matter.
Mahmood also shared that Prime Minister Imran Khan was “deeply concerned about this issue and asked me to help resolve it”.
Similarly, Education Minister for Punjab Dr Murad Raas tweeted the official statement of Country Director CAIE which read: “We have decided that grades we issue for the June 2020 series will not be lower than the predicted grade submitted by the school. Where a grade we issued last week was higher than the predicted grade, the higher grade will stand.”
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown this year had forced CAIE to cancel its May/June 2020 exams worldwide. The examination board later announced that certificates would be awarded without exams under a new four-step assessment mechanism which included teachers’ predicted grades, ranking order, school review/approval and standardisation.
However, after the results were announced last week, students started raising concerns and protested against the grades which were lower than their expectations and previous performance. They believed that Cambridge’s grade prediction system downgraded their qualifications, causing many to lose university placements and essential scholarships. Following the outrage, the government stepped in to assist students and Mahmood on Friday shared that Cambridge agreed to review its grading procedure.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued Friday, CAIE said it had been listening to feedback and suggestions from schools and students and had been “looking carefully at how to act on it.”
“Since we released our results on August 11, we’ve been listening to the feedback and suggestions from our schools and students. We know schools have been pleased that we were able to provide grades in challenging circumstances,” it said.
It added, “We have also heard your concerns about some aspects of our process, and we understand the real anxieties Cambridge students are facing at the moment. We have been looking carefully at how to act on your feedback, and at the same time make sure schools, universities and employers continue to trust our qualifications.”
“On Tuesday, August 18, we will let you know the actions we will take,” it added.
It is pertinent to mention here that the issue at hand was not limited to Pakistan alone. According to a report in BBC, approximately 40% of A-Level results of students in England were downgraded after the exams regulator Ofqual used an algorithm based on a schools’ previous results. This sparked outrage among the public following which the UK government, after discussing the matter, announced that A-level and GCSE students in England will be given grades estimated by their teachers, rather than by an algorithm.