A Level Exam Results: Many students upset by downgrading
Students were "stunned and aggrieved" and demanded a revision after their O and A level results were downgraded by Cambridge International board, which marked students based on a formula in the absence of the usual exams due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
A level results under Pearson Edexcel have seen the same fate. The O level exam results will likely come out in the third week of this month.
This year, all boards responsible for arranging O level and A level exams across the globe decided not to hold exams for its June 2020 series due to the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, they prepared results based on predicted grades and previous academic records submitted by schoolteachers, English medium schoolteachers said.
A number of students from Scholastica, Sunnydale, SFX Green Herald International School and others expressed dissatisfaction over their A level results.
Sunnydale student Dipro Nishanto said he got an A star in mathematics, an A in chemistry and physics in his Advanced Supplementary (AS) exam under Cambridge International last year. This year, his result was downgraded in maths and physics to an A and B grade respectively.
"They could have given similar grades to the AS exams as a benefit of doubt because the exams did not take place due to the pandemic. What kind of justice is this?" he asked.
Normally, students get better grades in the A2 exams than their AS exams, he added.
Teachers have also said that many O level students, under the Cambridge International board, were also unhappy with the results they have gotten.
A student of Green Herald International School said he got a B in physics and chemistry while his AS grades were A for both subjects last year, under the Cambridge International board.
He said results of 64 out of 128 students were downgraded this year.
A student of Willes Little Flower School and College who took part in the exams under Pearson Edexcel said he achieved A grades in biology units 1 and 2 and B grades in units 3 and 4 last year.
This year he was awarded an E grade and a U in biology units 5 and 6 respectively.
He said he got a C in chemistry unit 5 this year against an A achieved last year in units 1,2,3 and 4.
"I had the country-highest score in economics for AS, and got downgraded to B now. The process to challenge these results is proving to be notoriously difficult because the authorities aren't cooperating right now and different teachers are saying different things about how evidence was provided for these grades," an A Level student from Green Herald said.
"Sitting for retakes seems like the only option for students who didn't already get into colleges, and there's the question of whether retakes are even possible under the current circumstances as schools are closed," he added.
"Downgrading of results without any exams was an unfair decision. These students should have been given grades similar to their previous year's exams," Dhaka University English department Associate Professor Ashim Dutta said.
He said this will hamper the students' chances of getting scholarships if they want to go to abroad for higher education. "They will not be able to sit for the admission test of Buet as they will not be able to fulfil the academic criteria for the test," he added.
All students said that they have contacted their respective school authorities and are trying to find ways of appealing against these results.
Sunnydale Vice Principal Yasmeen Habib said many students, who are capable of getting A* or A, have not got the desired results.
English Medium School Association General Secretary GM Nizam Uddin, also principal of Green Gems International School, said results of many students were downgraded and all school authorities are in the process of contacting the relevant authorities.
Cambridge International in a statement on Thursday said their awarding process combined teacher insights -- predicted grades and rank orders -- with a rigorous standardisation process, keeping teacher judgments consistent across different schools.
"This ensured grades issued for June 2020 would be fair and reliable and accepted by universities and employers globally, in the same way as any other year," it added.
"We have been listening to schools and students as they've received their results. While many students are happy with their grades, we know some are disappointed. Schools can make different sorts of appeals to us, and we will consider each appeal carefully and make changes where needed," a spokesperson for Cambridge International said Thursday night, while replying to queries of The Daily Star through email.
"Students can also take part in exams in October and November with extra subjects available and alternative arrangements to support schools with distancing and safe reopening."
The spokesperson for Cambridge International, working with its South Asia office, said they don't have the number of grades changed for Bangladeshi students.
"But what I can tell you is that globally, just over half the grades awarded to students are the same as those predicted by their teachers," said the spokesperson.
Over 8,000 students in Bangladesh received results across all Cambridge qualifications in the June 2020 series.