Some students burned their A-level result papers in frustration at the exam chaos (Picture: Reuters)

Teachers are now able to tell pupils what A-level grades they thought they deserved, setting the stage for more frustration after nearly 40 per cent of results were downgraded.

Many schools expressed anger that the grades they were asked to submit by the exam moderator were adjusted down to ensure marks are broadly similar to recent years.

A-levels were initially to be based directly on the predicted grades before the government changed its policy – but teachers were warned they faced malpractice charges if they told them to students before results day.

It’s believed many schools are sending out the predictions alongside pupils’ final results, while others are making them available on request.

Headteachers have also criticised a last-minute announcement that pupils in England may be able to claim their mock grade as their final result if it is higher than the one they receive.

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The move appeared to pre-empt the outrage over A-level results after pupils in Scotland experienced downgrades which appeared to hit harder in more deprived areas.

The Scottish devolved government reinstated their predicted grades on Tuesday in a major U-turn that rocked SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s position in Holyrood.

Mock exams are often marked with wildly different standards between schools and Ofqual has yet to decide what the criteria for eligibility will be.


Students burn their A-Level results, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at London Dungeons, in London, Britain, August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
The government has been accused of responding chaotically to the cancellation of exams due to coronavirus (Picture: REUTERS)

Liz Laybourn, head teacher at Burgess Hill Girls, in Sussex, told The Times: ‘This year’s cohort of A level students has already faced a very tough six months and the impact on their wellbeing and mental health has been huge.

‘Now the uncertainty and stress has been compounded further with the government’s overnight bombshell that seems to rely more on mock exams.

‘The result is that young people now face even greater levels of complexity and anxiety as they attempt to understand the situation even before opening their envelopes.’

David Goodhew, head teacher of Latymer Upper, west London, added: ‘To have it sprung on schools and universities overnight with 24 hours to go is appalling. How are we meant to advise anxious pupils and parents . . . when we’re as much in the dark as they are?’

Just over 35 per cent of A-level students received one grade lower than their teachers’ predictions, with 3 per cent receiving results two grades lower than expected. However overall results show the highest ever level of A and A* grades.

The headteacher of Ark Globe Academy in Elephant and Castle, South London, said the situation was ‘very difficult’ but that his school ‘made the best of it for our students as best we possibly could’.


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 13: Students react as they share their A level results at City Academy Hackney on August 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Just over 35% of A level students in the UK have received one grade lower than their teacher predictions, with 3% receiving results two grades lower than expected. However overall results show a higher pass rate at A and A* level. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Large numbers of pupils had their results downgraded although a record-breaking number of pupils got top marks (Picture: Getty Images)

One pupil, Mohamed Jino, said: ‘To use mocks which are unaccredited and done on a school-by-school basis over predicted grades, which are standardised and seemed like a more reliable system, makes no sense to me whatsoever.’

But he said he was ‘pleased’ with his results and believes ‘the future holds bright things for me’.

Another student, Brenda Irabor, 18, said she was happy with her final results but that the chaos over the marking system took its toll on her mentally.

She added: ‘I was stressed because I think, with exams, even though you never really know how you’ve done until you get your grades, at least you can try and gauge how it went and you know you’ve worked for that exam.

‘With the way they were calculating our grades, it felt like it was constantly changing and sometimes things were very vague and that made it more stressful.’

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Source: Metro