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GB: Students protest grading system

People protest in London over the government's handling of test results, Friday, August 14, 2020.

People protest in London over the government’s handling of test results, Friday, August 14, 2020.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced calls on Sunday to resolve a crisis around how final grades are being awarded to high school students in England during the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of students took to the streets of London to protest against what they consider to be a grave injustice.

Meeting in front of the Department of Education, the students expressed their frustration at a system in which 40% of advanced-level seniors have already received lower grades than their teachers predicted. Since grades are key indicators of getting into college, many students fear that low numbers will jeopardize or limit their educational and vocational options.

Because British students were unable to take their exams in the months since the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of them have been tested through a complicated “moderation” algorithm. Many of them, parents and even some teachers have said that the algorithm has flaws.

Test results for 18-year-olds on a variety of subjects that took place just before entering colleges were released Thursday. The results of the more general test, known as GCSE, for 16-year-olds are scheduled to be available next Thursday.

Olivia Styles, 18, who received a lower grade than projected by her teachers, burned her results in front of the crowd in central London, although her university plans were not affected.

“By burning them, it’s like saying I don’t accept these results. These are not what I wanted, they are not what I deserved ”, he commented. “I want the results that I have worked so hard for in the last two years. I don’t want this piece of paper to define me as a person, ”he added.

The government has said the process was necessary to avoid “ratings inflated” because it would render the results worthless.