Penistone A-level student shocked by U grade after Government downgrading

A Penistone A-Level student says she is ‘devastated’ after receiving a U grade in maths due to a flawed algorithm used by the Government to downgrade results.

Saturday, 15th August 2020, 1:03 pm
Updated Saturday, 15th August 2020, 1:03 pm

Alice Bramley, 18, was predicted an A, B or C by teachers at Penistone Grammar School and was ‘totally shocked’ to find she had been marked down five grades on Thursday.

In an open letter to Government ministers and exam watchdog Ofqual - shared over 200 times on Facebook - Alice wrote how she was an ‘unlucky statistic’.

Alice also saw her two other A-level results lowered by two grades - receiving a B for biology and a C in physics.

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Alice, left, with best friend and fellow Penistone Grammar student Rowena

The student - who had hoped to study biology at the University of York - is now facing resitting her exams next year.

Nearly 40 per cent of A-level assessments by teachers were downgraded by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation’s algorithm - according to official figures published on Thursday morning.

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The ‘unfair’ marking system has already sparked a protest in Whitehall while the Labour Party have called on the Government to U-turn over the move.

Alice, bottom row left, with friends on the last day of sixth form

Alice said: “On results day I was in total shock - like a lot of people in my situation.

“My teachers were so upset - they’ve invested so much in us and done so much for us – it was devastating to see them so upset.”

Speaking about her letter the Penistone student described how she was initially scared to post it on Facebook but added, “I thought ‘I’ve got nothing to lose now’”.

She said: “I try not to get political about things but I just feel like this is just so unfair.

“At the start of lockdown we were told we would get a grade based on progress from the end of year 6 to GCSEs.

“They said they would take current working grades and reputation of the sixth form into account but it seems like nothing has been taken into account.

“It’s like a random letter generator has been used.”

Alice said she was ‘amazed’ to find there was ‘no appeals process in place’ to challenge the grades either.

Gutted Alice - who chose the University of York because of its excellent science courses - says her chances of getting onto its biology course were slim to none.

She added: “Any university looking at two A-levels in grades B and C will not be impressed.

“The biology course I wanted to do was because I liked it and the uni - I’m not going to go to another university just for the sake of it.

“I’m looking at having to resit the year and the exams as well.”

In her letter to the Government Alice wrote (SIC): “I feel utterly lost and confused, hurt that the education system I grew to love and support has resulted in utter chaos; perhaps 'system' is the wrong word, because systems often have some met of logic behind them, and when systems fails, there's always a back up plan that can be used immediately to resolve the problem. But here, there's nothing.”

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