Will this year’s grades stand the test of time?

With the current focus on economic recovery, there’s a lot of talk about the roadmap to a reconsidered future.

 By Ceri Assiratti, People Services Manager, Admiral Group 

All the while, many young people will be doing a lot of hard thinking as they await their grades and try to plan their next steps. That’s the same in any given year. The big difference in 2020, of course, is that the grades must be calculated in a different way.. It’s understandably a worrying time for everyone. 

As a major employer in Wales, Admiral is well-versed in job applications from people of all ages with all kinds of qualifications. One of the questions young people seem to be especially worried about this year is ‘will the class of 2020 be seen any differently from other years?’  

The straight answer is not at all. To an employer, this year’s results will carry the same value  as any other year, because we trust that the systems are in place to award grades correctly. We have confidence in qualifications, and we trust that schools, colleges, the exam boards and the regulator are all working together to protect their integrity this year. 

I would like to reassure learners and their families that this year’s grades are going to be valued in the same way as those from any other year 

But it’s important to recognise that these grades will only credible if they are similar to previous years. If this year’s grades were to be dramatically inflated, creating an artificially rosy set of results, then their credibility would be questionable.  

That’s why standardisation is so important, because it builds protection against a set of unrealistic results, which wouldn’t be plausible or hold public confidence.  

The recent consultation run by Qualifications Wales showed that the majority of people agreed that this year’s outcomes at a national level should look broadly similar to previous years, to reduce the risk of unfairness to learners over time. It’s an important principle for securing the confidence and credibility in qualifications that this year’s learners deserve. 

In the end, of course, the grades issued are only one part of a person’s story when they apply for a job. It’s important to remember that employers look at more than just results. 

Among the many things we look for, an important asset for today’s workforce, is resilience. Given these difficult times, that’s an important strength to remember.

Published 8 July 2020