A-levels 2020: University Technical College Portsmouth to appeal ‘unfair’ results in maths and physics

THE principal at University Technical College Portsmouth has said he will be appealing the A-level results awarded to students in maths and physics.

By Neil Fatkin
Thursday, 13th August 2020, 3:20 pm
Updated Friday, 14th August 2020, 10:20 am

With pupils unable to sit their summer exams, students have been awarded grades based on teacher estimates and the past academic performance of each college or school.

James Doherty, who has been UTC leader since February, said he feels the grades allocated ‘were not a fair reflection of what the students would have achieved’. Many teenagers are dependent on the grades for university and apprenticeship places.

Mr Doherty said: ‘Some subjects seem to have been moderated much harder than others. We will be appealing the results in maths and physics which were on average around a grade lower than what we had predicted.

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University Technical College Portsmouth principal, James Doherty, has said the school will be appealing the grades students have been awarded in maths and physics. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘We carried out a thorough process to arrive at these grades which were a conservative estimate. While the grades in other subjects are almost in line with our estimates the grades in these two subjects are not a fair reflection.’

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One student who has been adversely affected by the downgrading of teacher predictions is 18-year-old Tyler Pafford who attained an A in further maths, a B in maths and a C in computer science.

Tyler said: ‘I’m disappointed in my B as I was predicted an A in both subjects. It seems strange to get awarded a lower grade in normal maths which is the easier exam. There definitely seems to have been an issue in how maths was assessed.’

Tyler Pafford, 18, feels there has been a problem with the way grades in maths have been awarded. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Fellow student, Joseph Rickman, 18, was predicted A*s across the board but ended up getting an A in maths and a B in physics.

Joseph said: ‘I got A*s in all my mocks and so even though I’ve got my university place confirmed I may look to appeal. I’m confident I would have got my predictions if I’d had the chance to sit the exams.

‘GCSE results day was the happiest of my life but today has not been the same.’

Despite the decision to appeal, Mr Doherty said overall he was ‘really pleased’ with the results in which 30 per cent of students achieved A* to A grades – compared to just nine per cent last year – and 52 per cent of pupils were awarded A* to B grades. All students were awarded at least a pass (grade E and above) compared to 99.5 per cent last year.

Mr Doherty said: ‘I’m really pleased with how the college has performed and the fantastic increases we have seen in students achieving top grades.’

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