Wednesday 19 August 2020
Students force U-Turn on A ’Level results: Solidarity Statement from C.A.R.E.
CARE, The Coalition of Anti-Racist Educators, congratulates students who have forced the government into a u-turn on the racist and classist algorithm that assigned students’ grades based on their postcodes.
CARE has already spoken about concerns regarding bias and teacher assessment at their inception. This narrative has been adopted by many in the current climate.
Runnymede and many others wrote to the Education Secretary amid concerns that certain groups, including Black and ethnic students, may lose out due to existing racial disparities when predicted grades are accepted in place of exam results. See the full letter and list of signatories below; the open letter first appeared in TES online.
We welcome the U-turn on the algorithm, but inequality is still present with our disadvantaged students, many of whom come from Black backgrounds.
We cannot allow teacher assessments to be the final judgement for our Black students as data shows that Black students routinely outperform their predicted grades. We are aware that expectations of Black and working-class students tend to be systematically lower than warranted by their performance in class, as highlighted by Professor David Gillborn and others.
BTEC students and vocational course students have been completely forgotten about, and the data shows that these courses are disproportionately taken by Black and working-class students.
Things are not back to normal, and we are still in a global pandemic. On Thursday morning Ofqual admitted that nearly two in five (39.1%) pupils in the country saw their A-level grades downgraded from their teachers’ estimates. This is unacceptable. (https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/aug/14/punishment-by-statistics-the-father-who-foresaw-a-level-algorithm-flaws?CMP=share_btn_tw)
The pandemic, linked with the BLM movement, highlighted flaws in all aspects of society for the Black community, with most of the problems stemming from the educational system. The most disadvantaged children were affected by the government’s algorithm method. Adding, the Senior Leadership Teams’ moderations after teacher assessment also see Black students disproportionately graded.
Not only have Black students been affected the most, the additional trauma of this A Level fiasco has just added to more violence acted upon the next generation.
Teacher grades also do not account for the number of biases, microinsults, microinvalidations and other forms of covert racism over the student’s academic careers and many young people have already lost out on uni offers. This is irreversible. Universities owe it to future students to do better!
Why is No-one talking about the grade inflations at Eton, Winchester, Beedales, Roedean? The schools which can afford 1-2-1 coaching to pass exams, private tuition with smaller class sizes, where those “Old Boys” networks kick in at employment stage?
“Race is the modality in which class is lived” (Hall et al., 1978, p 394) For Black students; it’s more than just a class system; it’s institutional racism at its core and only by capturing the fundamental social experience of the unity of race and class can we avoid the pitfalls of separating them analytically and falling into “bothandism” (https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4079-the-blindspot-revisited)
Students, we stand with you. Together we can win against this inept government.
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