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Petition Change A-level grades awarded from CAGs to UCAS predicted grades where higher

We believe that Centre Assessment Grades (CAGs) do not in all cases reflect the actual ability or likely attainment of many students, and there are also concerns that that the CAG system has negatively impacted BAME students and those from more disadvantaged backgrounds.

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The Government should change A-level grades from CAGs to predicted grades provided to UCAS, where these were higher.

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Government responded

This response was given on 26 January 2021

To enable students to receive qualifications, students who were due to sit A level, AS level or GCSE exams in summer 2020 received the higher of their centre assessment grade or their calculated grade

No exams took place in summer 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

For each student, schools and colleges provided a centre assessment grade for each subject. This was the grade their school or college believed they would be most likely to have achieved had exams gone ahead, taking into account a range of evidence including, for example, non-exam assessment and mock results. It was a more up to date and robust assessment than predicted grades provided to UCAS. In 2019, of UK 18 year old university applicants with at least 3 A levels who were accepted on to a place, 79% of individuals were overpredicted in their grades and 8% were underpredicted.

Following increasing concern about anomalies in the outcomes from the standardisation model intended to be used to moderate those grades, and to enable students to receive qualifications they could use to go to the next stage of their lives, it was decided that students would receive the higher of their centre assessment grade or their calculated grade.

This ensured the fairest outcome for most students in these challenging circumstances, with students also having the opportunity to sit their exams in the autumn term, if they had not received a grade in the summer or wished to improve on their grade. We do not intend to make any further changes to students’ grades.

We recognise that the move to centre assessment grades had implications for universities and students, and therefore removed temporary student number controls. The move helped to prioritise students’ interests and ensured that there were no barriers to students being able to progress.

We worked closely with the sector to create additional capacity and ensured they were as flexible as possible. We set a clear expectation that they honoured all offers wherever possible.

Department of Education

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