I called this out as a problem from the early years of my career working with NCFE and OfQual. In my experience private schools over-predict all the time, students can literally just ask for all A grades during A-levels and are given those predictions without any questions asked (even though if they are working at a C grade at the time). In contrast, in state schools, if you were working on a C then you’d be predicted a C, maybe a B at a push but never an A grade. Using predictions like this was always going to favour those at a private school more.
Point being, students missing predictions isn’t anywhere near as much of a financial problem for private schools compared to state schools – that is a fact of the education system in the UK. Hence why state schools are incentivized to lower predictions to ensure a greater % of students achieve what they were predicted which can be used as a metric for granting funding. Over-predicting grades in state schools cause problems when students don’t achieve those grades as their funding can be affected or OFSTED could come in to inspect.
Teachers in private schools must be trusted by Boris to mark their students correctly, while state school teachers can’t. Just the same old political prejudices against the working classes. Private schools are like any other businesses if they downgraded the results as all the public schools had done they’ll lose that business, they have a reputation to maintain for the rich…
The reality is that this government has levelled down rather than levelled up. In cash strapped state schools courses with small cohorts are often not allowed to run as it isn’t seen as value for money. Clearly in private schools funding is not an issue and children in these institutions benefit from small classes throughout their school lives and also, it appears now, with their exam results. The whole system stinks and perpetuates the rich vs. poor divide.
Since the time I first started to work as a part of this ‘urgent national project’ of organizing the system for grading, I pretty much knew it’d favour schools, colleges etc in ‘better off’ areas. It’s apparently down to these schools having the funding to support a wider range of subjects, which then reduces the average class size per subject, which improves the overall average. It wasn’t exactly clear if they were aware of this prior to using it but either way, it’s clear discrimination. They either knew it would benefit one group and be detrimental to another (which is discrimination) or they didn’t which is incompetency and thus it shouldn’t be valid.
I think Ofqual needs to have their working out moderated. Anyone with a bit of knowledge of machine learning algorithms would be dubious of Ofqual’s confidence right now. The main techniques have known problems, and bias is very difficult to eradicate. Common problems include- under-sampling, oversampling, correctly identifying and controlling all the variables, short term and long term bias and drift, correct prediction of outliers. There are businesses that rely on years and years of data and have hugely invested in algorithm research that still gets things wrong and wouldn’t be so bold as Ofqual here (see Amazon shopping recommendations).
The algorithm that Ofqual has applied (linked to studies similar to UCLs research) is based partly on the drop between UCAS predicted grades, and the actual achieved. However, the schools who adhered to the guidance produced more realistic Centre Assessed Grades as requested, but then have been penalized by the assumption that those grades are as inflated as the grades predicted for UCAS. Ofqual did spend a lot of time and research creating the standardization model, the simple statistical fact is that you cannot apply a strong adjustment to small samples..Remember not all private schools have small pupil numbers and many specialist colleges also have small cohorts.
However, I will dispute that this is some accident of statistics, that their hands were tied and this was the only outcome that they could come to and that it was unforeseeable. In essence, whatever the means they used to get to this conclusion is almost irrelevant, the end product was deemed acceptable, which is totally unacceptable. And covering the cost of appeals is a form of admission to that.
There may be no concrete proof of discrimination as the aim during the development of the model. But it is very clear social engineering of the very worst kind in an already rigged educational system that greatly favours Private School students for HE entry. This corrupt & elitist ultra-right-wing Govt. don’t want to see talented working-class poorer students with aspiration becoming highly educated. They have eradicated all social mobility as much as possible to avoid any serious competition.
Anyway, the real problem is that the current exam-focused qualification is more to do with testing performance in exams rather than ability in the subject. So what is really the problem is that the teachers can’t easily predict which students will not demonstrate their ability in the exam because they’re a bag of nerves or haven’t slept. It’s a daft focus normally anyway because exams are so unlike the real world.
I don’t get what everyone’s shocked about, this country is run by elitist privately educated toffs, constant insider trading initiatives with the government’s money… our tax money. Tax breaks for the wealthy. I mean they bailed out Wetherspoons with tax money and now stating we’re in a recession. Well, then you fucknuts don’t hand our tax money to your “mate” who runs a franchise pub/restaurant establishment.
It doesn’t seem to matter what this Tory govt. do. The people that voted for them are either wedded to the ideology or too embarrassed to admit they were duped to change their minds and call them to account. And the majority of the media won’t as it either controls the government or is controlled by it.
The only hope for this country is for young people age 16 allowed to have the vote. They are not blind and they will not be fooled by the Tory lies and people like Dominic Cummings. It is essential that young people aged 16 or allowed to vote it’s their future. It should happen and it must happen. It should be one of the major campaigns that we need to do. All these chatting or challenging in Parliament for the Tories to deny, make excuses and tell lies. Not Enough. Let’s get the blood of young people boiling, that they get justice. So that they have a voice in their own future.