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GCSE And A-level Pupils To Be Awarded Fewer Top Grades In 2022

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GCSE and A-level pupils to be awarded fewer top grades in 2022, says Ofqual

Pupils sitting GCSEs and A-levels next summer will receive fewer top grades than this year’s cohort, but will be given advance notice of some exam topics to help address learning lost as a result of the pandemic, Ofqual has announced.

The 2022 summer exams will be treated as “a transition year” with grade boundaries set midway between pre-pandemic levels in 2019 and 2021’s record results, after exams were cancelled for the second year running and replaced by teacher assessments.

Grades will then return to 2019 pre-pandemic levels for pupils sitting exams in 2023, who are now at the start of their GCSE and A-level courses, in the expectation that they will have avoided the worst of the Covid disruption.

The exams regulator is hoping the two-stage plan will succeed in reining in grade inflation and bring results back to normal levels, without triggering a sudden drop in results for pupils sitting their exams next summer.

Ofqual said more students will still get higher grades than before the pandemic, but with adjusted grade boundaries the proportion of pupils getting top A-level grades could drop by as much as 10 percentage points on last summer’s results, when almost 45% of all entries were awarded A or A* compared with 25% in 2019.

After a public consultation, the government and Ofqual confirmed a range of adaptations to next summer’s exams to make up for the disruption to learning, including a greater choice of topics in some GCSE exams like English literature and history.

Advance information about the focus of some exams will also be made available to schools in early February to help teachers and students make best use of the revision period in the final months before assessment, and support materials like formulae sheets for maths will be made available in exams.

Although the government has made plain its desire for exams to go ahead next year, Ofqual also published contingency plans for the use of teacher-assessed grades again in 2022 if exams have to be cancelled for a third year running because of Covid.

The education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, said: “We’ve put fairness at the heart of our approach and listened to pupils, teachers and parents. The measures we’re putting in place will help reduce the impact of the significant disruption this group of young people have had to face – allowing them to move on to the next stage of their lives.

“We are committed to rigorous standards being fairly applied, and exams are the fairest way to assess students, which is why they will take place next year.”

Ofqual’s chief regulator, Dr Jo Saxton, added: “Our grading approach will recognise the disruption experienced by students taking exams in 2022. It will provide a safety net for those who might otherwise just miss out on a higher grade, while taking a step back to normal. Choice in some subjects and advance information to support revision are intended to provide support for all as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Dr Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said the exams announcement had come too late and would not allay the anxiety or answer the questions many teachers have.

On exam adaptations, she said: “Only giving advanced information about the exams in time for revision will result in a ‘topic lottery’ where some students will have happened to have covered the topics on the exam in sufficient depth and others may well have not.”

Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Whatever decision was made about the approach to grading in 2022, it would be open to criticism by some. The most important thing is that this decision has been made and everyone involved now knows what to expect.”

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Education

NUT faults sacking of 2,357 teachers by Kaduna govt

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NUT faults sacking of 2,357 teachers by Kaduna govt

The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has faulted the sacking of 2,357 teachers by the Kaduna State government allegedly failing a competence test organised by the government.

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the NUT at a meeting held in Abuja on Wednesday, lamented decision of the Kaduna State Government to sack teachers, including its National President, Audu Amba, who was also affected in the mass dismissal.

In a communique released at the end of the meeting, the NUT Deputy National President, Kelvin Nwankwo, said the sack which came following the refusal by Amba and some teachers to write the competency test, was unacceptable to the union.

“It is pertinent to state that the Kaduna State Government’s purported Competency Test was held during the pendency of Suit No NICN/54/2021 before the National Industrial Court, Kaduna Division.

“Furthermore, the purported dismissal of 2,357 teachers was done during the pendency of another Motion on Notice,” the NUT statement said.

“We are teachers and best suited to know the concept of test administration which is a settled and accepted tool for the assessment of the performance of a learner in his or her educational career.

“However, this lofty tool has been maliciously bastardised and abused in Kaduna State. It has been deployed as an instrument of vendetta targeted at labour leaders who dared to perform their statutory and historical role of advocating the advancement of the welfare of teachers.

“The National Executive Council (NEC) of our great Union in good faith had in accordance with international best practices in the teaching profession, advocated that the Kaduna State Government should rather embark on a continuous teacher training programme.

“It is very sad and curious that the dismissal letter relative to the NUT President was in the public domain via the social media even when it has not been served on him.

“The intention clearly is to intimidate the NUT President and embarrass the teachers in Nigeria.

“The union will continue to perform its historical role of defending the rights of teachers in Nigeria and no amount of anti labour policies of the Kaduna State Government and elsewhere can diminish this resolve.

“The NUT family reaffirms its commitment to stand with its revered president, Comrade Audu Titus Amba, and all the teachers in Kaduna State,” the communique said.

 

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FG Continues Talks With ASUU As Strike Enters Fourth Month

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FG Continues Talks With ASUU As Strike Enters Fourth Month

The Federal Government has continued its negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as the strike by the lecturers enters its fourth month.

A meeting between the striking lecturers and the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee, however, ended without a concrete agreement as members planned to reconvene within 24 hours to consider a draft agreement.

Talks between both parties were held on Monday at the Nigeria University Commission (NUC) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

A senior member of the union who attended the meeting told The Harmattan News that they reached some agreements with the Federal Government, but members had to break and reconvene within 24 hours to consider the new terms in the draft agreement.

The Federal Government set up the committee led by Professor Briggs on March 7 with a three-month mandate to renegotiate the 2009 ASUU/Federal Government agreement.

The government had tasked the committee to ensure the renegotiation brings an end to the ongoing industrial action by the university lecturers.

Three months after it was inaugurated, the committee met with the lecturers but also failed to reach a final agreement that could end the strike that has crippled academic activities across government-owned universities.

ASUU embarked on a nationwide strike on February 14 over the adoption of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) as the payment system in the university sector.

Members also decried the poor funding of universities, non-payment of salaries and allowances of some of their colleagues, as well as the inability of the government to pay earned academic allowance to lecturers, among other issues.

Since the industrial action began, several negotiations between the union and the government have ended in deadlock – a situation that was condemned by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).

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Talks with FG panel over strike fruitless – SSANU

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Talks with FG panel over strike fruitless – SSANU

The Joint Action Committee of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has said no tangible achievement was recorded at the Federal Government Renegotiation Panel.

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday, the National Vice-President, SSANU, Dr. Abdussobur Salaam, said the panel met only once with SSANU since it was inaugurated on March 7, 2022.

The Harmattan News had reported that the committee, which was chaired by the Pro-Chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Emeritus Prof. Nimi Briggs, was given three months to conclude the renegotiation with the four university unions and send the report to Federal Government.

The committee’s timeline ended on Monday.

It is believed that the committee will submit its report to the Federal Government this week or get an extension.

But Salaam explained that the Briggs committee’s engagements with SSANU had been minimal and the timeline was not being adhered to.

He said, “Within the three months timeline, SSANU has only had one meeting with the Briggs renegotiation team. The meeting was held on Friday, April 8, 2022. Today, being June 7, makes it exactly two months ago.

“At the meeting, nothing tangible was put on the table. No offer was made by the government, particularly on improved conditions of service and welfare of our members.

“The government’s side seems not to be sure of itself and groping in the dark as far as its mandate is concerned.

“As of now, we have no reason to express satisfaction because even the paces of the discussions have been too slow. If it has taken two months after the first meeting with SSANU and no meeting has been called, it gives room to doubt the willingness and capacity of the committee to deliver on its mandate.”

He suggested that the panel be properly empowered to take decisions on behalf of the government.

Salaam said, “The Committee should be properly empowered to take decisions on behalf of the government. To be breathed down upon by government officials as the engagements with the committee suggest is not good for confidence building. They should show that they have a mandate to commit on behalf of the government.

“Similarly, the committee appears not to take cognisance of the timelines in the discharge of its assignment. Whatever the bottlenecks militating against the timelines should be removed.

“If we have only had one meeting within the three months timeline with nothing tangible being put on the table, it leaves much to be desired and it is highly unfortunate.”

When our correspondent contacted Briggs on the telephone for reactions on SSANU’s complaints and other issues, he declined comment, saying, “I don’t react to anything on telephone.”

SSANU’s strike started with a warning strike of two weeks which commenced on March 27, 2021, while the extension of another two weeks commenced on Sunday, April 10, 2022.

The union’s demands include the inconsistent issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, unpaid earned allowances, and delay in the renegotiation of FGN, NASU, SSANU agreements, and non-payment of minimum wage arrears.

Others include neglect and poor funding of state universities, non-payment of retirement benefits to outgoing members of the unions, and usurpation of the headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures, among others.

 

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