Algorithm that determines school exam results risks ‘baking in inequality’

An algorithm used to calculate exam results in England risks unfairly punishing poorer pupils, politicians have warned.

The system was introduced when school exams were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers were instead asked to hand over their predicted grades for each student to exam regulators. The algorithm then adjusts their estimates by comparing them to the school‘s past results.

In total, the system reduced around 125,000 estimated grades — a quarter of all results — while only about 9,000 were pushed upwards. Scottish Labour’s education spokesperson Iain Gray accused the exam authority of treating teachers’ judgement “with contempt.”

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