Afzal Khan MP, together with the Equality Act Review, last week published a nationwide study revealing 80% of students (sample of 803) were concerned about their predicted grades, with 85% of respondents from BAME backgrounds. This study is representative of 4.6 million GCSE and A-Level students in the UK.
Experts have suggested BAME students are most disadvantaged in grade predictions however, the study found bias extended this. Other types of bias included Islamophobia, favouritism, bad behaviour, class and learning style. Key recommendations aim to mitigate the potential but highly likely bias.
This pandemic has shown the gravity of existing inequalities, ranging from health, mortality, institutional racism and now education. It is hoped that Ofqual and DoE consider the findings and eliminate all forms of bias from the grade predictions process.
Afzal Khan MP said: “As the MP for Manchester Gorton, which has one of the highest child poverty rates in the UK, I know full well the importance of opportunity for young people. The existing BAME attainment gap is more likely to have been exacerbated by this pandemic. Bias and other factors mean that predicted grades are not always a true reflection of a student’s potential. These concerns need to be looked at and addressed.”
“This much needed report highlights factors which are currently not accounted for in the grades prediction system. Given the time sensitivity, it is vital that the Government take these recommendations on board ahead of GCSE and A-Level results.”
The author and founder of the Equality Act Review, Dr Suriyah Bi said, “As a working class, state educated, first generation to go to university, I would never have gone on to study at Oxford and Yale if my grades were predicted. Stories like mine are common and under pandemic conditions are likely to worsen.”