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Cambridge withdraws A/O level downgrading, recognises predicted grade amid outcry


The Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) on Monday decided that grades issued for the June 2020 series will not be lower than the predicted grade submitted by the school, stating that “if a grade that was issued last week higher than the predicted grade, the higher grade will stand”.

In a first, the CAIE had announced the results of hundreds of thousands of students who participated in the examinations from across the world as well as from Pakistan under grade prediction method.

The unexpected results led to a massive outcry by thousands of Pakistani students who believe that their grades were unfair and discriminatory.

On Saturday, Federal Minister Shafqat Mahmood had said the CAIE had agreed to review its grading procedures for the recent O/A level results.

“As a result of our intervention conveying the anguish of our students, I have just heard that Cambridge has agreed to review its grading procedure regarding the recently declared results,” the minister tweeted.

“We will issue new grades as soon as possible. We will also share the new grades with universities and admissions organisations as soon as we can in the coming days. We will post the new grades to Cambridge International Direct,” a statement issued by the CAIE said.

It said the schools were asked to work collaboratively with the CAIE. “We know teachers worked extremely hard to gather evidence and work out predicted grades, and we have viewed a significant proportion of the evidence schools used to make their predictions.”

The statement said that in order to provide immediate certainty to students, schools can inform them of the predicted grades they submitted to the CAIE in the meantime.

“We are very grateful to schools for working with us so patiently throughout this challenging period. We will update schools further on this process on Wednesday 19 August 2020,” the statement added.

Around March, when the world was still trying to make sense of the global pandemic, the CAIE had announced suspending all its examinations due for the May/June 2020 series.

Instead, after much ado, the largest foreign examination exercise had decided to adopt an alternative grade prediction system based on past performance and available evidence to issue certifications to registered candidates.

However, four months after the cancellation, thousands of Pakistani students were unhappy with their awarded qualifications.

They believe that Cambridge’s grade prediction system has inexplicably downgraded their qualifications, causing many to lose university placements and essential scholarships.

In an earlier statement, the CAIE had said it had been listening to feedback and suggestions from schools and students and had been “looking carefully at how to act on it.”

“Since we released our results on August 11, we’ve been listening to the feedback and suggestions from our schools and students. We know schools have been pleased that we were able to provide grades in challenging circumstances,” it added.

However, after an outcry from students the CAIE has withdrawn from its downgrading and recognised predicted grades.

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