GREAT NEWS FOR A-LEVELS AND GCSE STUDENTS IN PAKISTAN!

The Covid-19 pandemic has created circumstances no one could have ever imagined or wished for. As all the trades of life have been hardly hit by the coronavirus, it has particularly affected the education sector all over the globe. Schools Universities and other educational institutes have been struggling to continue their normal course of operation since the outbreak. Along with many other problems, one was finding a way to fairly award results to students to make sure they could continue to the next educational year as most of the countries have lifted lockdown and things are getting back to normal.

In a wake to save student’s precious time and hence allowing them to move to the next level of their studies, A-levels and GCSE results were announced in the United Kingdom (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales), along with around 160 affiliate countries including Pakistan.

The results, however, left students and parents in shock as drastic discrepancies were found where most of the grades are significantly downgraded from what schools and teachers suggested based on previous results and overall class performance.

An uproar triggered in the United Kingdom against unfair and unexpectedly low grades awarded to students including those who have scored the highest grades in previous exams. An estimated 40% of results were downgraded from predicted grades with most students marked two or even three grades down, which resulted in many students losing further admission in universities all around the world.

After hundreds of students took to the streets of London, demonstrating outside the Department for Education against the reckless results, the education secretary announced that both A-levels and GCSE results will revert to grades that were submitted by schools earlier this summer. The concerned bodies in Scotland and Ireland also took to the decision of reverting the results to those submitted by schools. Hence, parents who had spent thousands of pounds in the form of exam fee, and totally hopeless students, took a sigh of relief.

Following the demonstrations in the United Kingdom, hundreds of students and their families protested outside the National Press Club in Islamabad, against the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) who is the official exam regulator for A-Levels and GCSE exams in Pakistan, after the announcement of results on Thursday.

Students in Pakistan received ” horrific results” as quoted by many students, where a “U” was awarded against a predicted “A” which was suggested by the exam center or the institute through which students appeared in the exam.

Thousands of students are in a state of turmoil, as most of them received offers from prestigious universities both in Pakistan and in foreign countries. Students had already cleared the admission process and secured conditional places in universities and were just waiting for the results for final confirmation. Parents also immensely criticized the way CAIE marked the students, calling it unjustified and unfair. According to many students, the formula used for awarding these grades was a total disaster and that assessments sent by their institutes should have been given preference for producing results instead of using some unjustified algorithm.

Where government and concerned exam bodies in England, Ireland and Scotland have announced and confirmed the solution in the form of reverting to center-assessed grades, and also providing students with an option to sit in next exam in November/December this year without paying a fee for the retake, Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) has also followed the footsteps and announced that it will revert the results to grades provided by the schools.

According to the news published on CAIE’s official website on 18th of August, CAIE has announced that it has decided that grades issued for the June 2020 series will not be lower than the predicted grade submitted by the schools and that was a grade issued earlier last week was higher than the predicted grade, the higher grade will stand.

It is further stated by CAIE that new grades will be issued as soon as possible and will also be shared with universities and admissions organizations as early as possible in the coming days. CAIE will post the new grades to Cambridge International Direct. In the meantime, schools are also asked to inform students of the predicted grades they submitted to CAIE and further updates for the process for schools regarding new results will be announced on the 19th of August.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.

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