Coventry MPs back A-level students after “unfair” algorithm downgrades thousands of results

Coventry MPs Taiwo Owatemi and Zarah Sultana have both backed calls from some students in Coventry to reverse the use of an “unfair” algorithm for calculating grades.

Coventry MPs Taiwo Owatemi and Zarah Sultana have both backed calls from some A-level students in Coventry and across the country to reverse the use of an “unfair” algorithm for calculating pupils final grades.

Their intervention comes after around 280,000 students’ teacher-assessed A-level results were downgraded by one grade across England.

Both MPs have written separately to the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, urging him to reconsider the use of an algorithm which calculated pupils’ final grades due to exams not taking place because of COVID-19.

Despite Coventry performing well compared to last year, many individuals still lost out on their predicted grades which they had worked hard towards.

In her letter, Ms Owatemi raised the concerns of disappointed young constituents, many of who have written to her having lost places at top universities as a result of the downgrading.

The MP also called for the waiver of appeal fees, a “fairer and more accessible” appeals process and greater flexibility from universities and colleges in admissions.

“The Government promised to level up Coventry; instead it has levelled down the grades of its next generation”, she said.

While Ms Sultana’s letter called out the Ofqual algorithm as being “wholly unfair” to students for “reasons beyond their control.”

She concludes her letter criticising the “last-minute, botched” “triple lock” announcement the Education Secretary made on Wednesday evening, in which he explained the three choices students have, as a “menu of bad options”.

Both MPs said they have received messages from many constituents in Coventry who have missed out on University places due to the algorithm.