School leavers across the UK have received their exam results today, or last week in Scotland.

 

We want to congratulate every student that achieved the required grades to continue their studies at university, and we look forward to welcoming a new cohort of students to the study of politics and international relations. We want to thank teachers of politics in secondary and higher education for helping students navigate these turbulent times. For students who did not receive the grades they were hoping for, we would encourage you to contact your first and insurance choice institutions as well as exploring the fantastic courses available via clearing.

 

What should be a time of celebration and excitement for many young people has become a time of uncertainty and disappointment after exams were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The moderation of student grades is also concerning for us as an Association. According to data from Ofqual, two in five (39.1%) of pupils’ grades in England have been downgraded.

 

We also share the concerns expressed by the House of Common’s Education Select Committee, which predicted that algorithms used to determine grades will disproportionately affect BAME students and those from low-income areas. Students who have been consistently high-achieving or who had worked hard to prepare for their summer exams may not receive the grades they deserve.

 

This is of particular concern to the PSA as, maybe even more so than most subjects, politics and international relations thrives as a discipline from having a diverse cohort of students. When learning with people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, students have more valuable class discussions and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.

 

We know that universities are being as flexible as they can to accommodate students who did not receive the grades that they were expecting. However, we believe the implications of the coronavirus pandemic upon education may also provide a suitable fillip to further reviews of the English examination system. Specifically, it may be that the linear examination model currently in place is no longer fit for purpose.