Britain has always taken special pride in its high school and university entrance exams. They are called GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) and “A-Level” (Advanced Level). Students choose specific subjects (minimum three, usually four and one project) and prepare for a series of three to six examinations between the ages of 16 and 18. They will be your passport for college education. Institutions do not conduct regular official assessment tests, although many do orientation tests to check the development of students. The final measure of your ability is outsourced: it is done by an independent body, which only responds to the parliament, called takwal (the regulatory office for qualifications and exams, in its abbreviated form in English). For the second year in a row, the epidemic has changed everything. Strict social distancing measures to be enacted in the United Kingdom have prompted the Ministry of Education to leave the final grade in the hands of teachers. Last year’s nuisance, when the government finally had to withdraw an algorithm designed to balance the inflated results provided by institutions, would not be repeated. The result was then to rate the grade downward and provoke for thousands of students. And the current fear, as can be seen in 2020, is that universities will be flooded with requests for admission from applicants who may not have reached the required level under formal conditions. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “It is a reasonable and flexible system that will ensure that youth can move forward to the next stage of their education or career.” “No minors should be left behind as a result of education lost during this epidemic.” Colleges and universities have been closed since early January, and were already suspended for three weeks in November.
The resilience of norms assigned to teachers has sparked criticism and warnings in the academic community, despite acknowledging that teachers are best placed to determine the development and preparation of students. “We put all our trust in him,” said Gavin Williamson, Minister of Education in the House of Commons. “This time we will not rely on any type of algorithm, although we will keep a clear and solid system to be able to appeal the results.” Ofqual will randomly analyze samples of results to detect potential discrepancies in grades of more than 1.2 million students. “There is still a serious risk that we will see considerable discrepancies in the grades of different students and schools, or that schools adopt different criteria when assessing. As a result, we can find ourselves with high numbers of resources or exaggerated inflation of high marks ”, said Natalia Perera, Director education policy, An independent organization dedicated to the analysis of educational policies.
Last summer, after the first suspension of tests, an unexpected flow of applications was received for admission to British universities (including the prestigious Cambridge and Oxford), which was more than 20% below the normal average in the case of medical schools.