- June 2020 series exams were suspended across the globe due to Covid-19
- Cambridge International later asked for predicted grades from teachers
- It also asked for the performance data of schools from previous years
- A good number of students from Bangladesh and abroad were downgraded
- Many students who deserved A* got lower grades, raising serious concerns
- Facing an uproar, Cambridge International said it will re-grade the A-Level results
After facing strong protests from students, guardians and even school authorities, Cambridge Assessment International Education has decided to re-grade the recently published A-Level results.
The results of a good number of students in Bangladesh, and also of students across the globe were downgraded by the organisation, informally known as Cambridge International.
It is a provider of international qualifications, offering examinations and qualifications to 10,000 schools in more than 160 countries.
Cambridge International, in a notice posted on its website on August 17, said, "We have decided that grades we issue for the June 2020 series will not be lower than the predicted grade submitted by the school."
"Where a grade we issued last week was higher than the predicted grade, the higher grade will stand," the notice explained.
The notice further read, "We will issue new grades as soon as possible. We will also share the new grades with universities and admission organisations as soon as we can in the coming days. We will post the new grades to Cambridge International Direct."
Addressing the issue, Sunnydale Vice-Principal Yasmeen Habib said, "Cambridge International assured us that it will re-grade the A-Level results. It has also sent a letter to us regarding the matter."
"It was a matter of concern that many students who deserve A* were downgraded. The students also were upset. It is definitely good news that Cambridge International will re-grade the results and publish them soon," she added.
Barrister Omar Faruque, president of Delhi Public School Guardians Association, told The Business Standard that he had heard the news about re-grading the A-Level results. "It is good news for the students," he added.
The students could not attend the exams this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All boards responsible for organising O-level and A-level exams across the globe decided not to hold examinations for its June 2020 series.
Cambridge International instructed teachers throughout the world to submit predicted results, and then it calculated the final grades. The teachers submitted results based on predicted grades and previous academic records.
Commenting on the matter, The New School Dhaka's Principal Sabuj Ahmed said, "Cambridge International's software made errors, and the teachers from Bangladesh also made big mistakes in calculating the grades."
"Cambridge International had asked for previous and overall results from the schools. The current batch of students should not be held responsible for the results of the previous batch. Many schools did not understand the instructions for the results sheets," he added.
GM Nizam Uddin, Secretary General of Bangladesh English Medium Schools Association (BEMSA), said, "Cambridge International looked at 'statistical evidence,' such as the performance data of the schools from previous years and the grade bell-curve data, which produced disappointing results."
"The current students became the victims of their alumni, because the candidates in my school are all capable of getting A*. However, they were downgraded due to the school's previous results," he continued.
A student, wishing anonymity, said, "We, the English medium candidates, were supposed to attend the exams in May 2020. But, we could not do so due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. So, we were graded based on predictions."
"We are really disappointed with the grades they gave us. The D, E and U grades do not justify the results we received despite our hard work," the student added.
Maliha Omar, a student of Delhi Public School, said, "I got Bs in many subjects, but I deserve A*s. I cannot apply for higher education at any reputed institutions with such results."
Expressing her satisfaction over the recent decision of Cambridge International, she said, "We expect that Cambridge International will calculate our grades fairly this time and publish the results soon."
Over 8,000 students in Bangladesh received results under Cambridge International's qualifications in the June 2020 series. About 280,000 results were downgraded from what teachers had predicted across the globe.
What are the A-levels?
A-levels are advanced qualifications offered by schools and colleges in the UK. A student will commonly study for the A-levels between the ages of 16 and 18, following the completion of high school.
Traditionally, a student takes between three and four subjects, tailored towards appealing to the universities they want to attend.