NUS president calls A-level moderation 'racist and classist' in petition against government
The president of the National Union of Students (NUS) has described the moderation of A-level results as “racist and classist”.
Students in England are receiving calculated grades after this summer's A-level and GCSE exams were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But NUS president Larissa Kennedy said the system represented “educational inequality”, and launched a petition to demand fair grades.
She tweeted: “Congrats to those getting results today.
“Due to a classist, racist moderation system, not everyone will receive the grades they deserve.”
Congrats to those getting results today🥳
Due to a classist, racist moderation system, not everyone will receive the grades they deserve
That’s why we’ve launched this petition⤵️
Students, educators + anyone who stands against educational inequality, pls take 2 mins to sign https://t.co/SWw9oAcV7b
— Larissa Kennedy (@Larissa_Ken) August 13, 2020
A students postcode, school/college or historical data does not define their success. Stop instilling injustice & inequality in the education system. I’m supporting this campaign from @nusuk - give them the grades they deserve! 👊🏼 #AlevelResults https://t.co/oNblqTtNWB
— Megan Ball (@WinchesterPres) August 13, 2020
The government announced late on Tuesday that youngsters can use mock exam results as the basis for an appeal if they are higher than the calculated grade.
In Scotland, protests from pupils resulted in the SNP administration allowing results estimated by teachers to be accepted.
The NUS petition says: “We saw how in Scotland the system meant that students from wealthier backgrounds, studying in wealthier areas had their results downgraded less than others. This is unacceptable.”
The petition goes on to demand “a fair and free appeals process for all students to combat any instances of racist, classist or other discrimination”, as well as a call to end “educational inequality”.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson has ruled out making a U-turn on exam grades, arguing that it would see students lose out and "devalue the results for the class of 2020”.
Asked if he was prepared to change the system again amid threats of legal action from parents, Williamson told Times Radio: "We're not going to be changing this system again.
"We believe that we've put in place – in terms of the triple lock, in terms of the actions we've taken – a system that is able to put its arm round those youngsters where there has been a grade that has been unfair on them and is able to put that right.”
He also claimed that pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds would have been at "high risk" of losing out compared with their more middle-class counterparts if exams had been delayed rather than cancelled.
A "late clearing process" is expected to be available for pupils who opt to sit A-level exams in the autumn to enable them to join a university in January, according to Williamson.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Universities are looking at being as flexible as possible."
Yahoo News UK has contacted the Department for Education for a comment.