More than a third of estimated grades allocated by teachers to students in the North of Ireland were lowered in the final results.
School principals, teachers and students in Derry and across the North of Ireland were left furious and disappointed over how the results were arrived at.
Some students were marked down one or even two grades without any explanation as to how this was arrived at.
The SDLP’s Daniel McCrossan told Peter Weir children had been “failed by the system”.
Mr Weir resisted calls to scrap the results, telling MLAs the method was the “least worst solution”.
After the exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, examination body CCEA asked teachers to give a predicted grade for their pupils and then rank them in order within their class.
It then used other data to standardise the results.
For A-levels, the model used pupils’ AS-level results and re-sit data.
Head teachers, teaching unions, students, managing authorities, and the education and training inspectorate were all consulted in the development of the final grade calculation process, the minister said.
Mr McCrossan asked the minister “to produce your homework to be marked” on the algorithm used to calculate the A-level results..
“Dreams have been shattered, confidence battered and families are very worried and concerned for their wellbeing and their health, and mental health.
“I have seen teachers in tears, in shock, they are numb, angry, frustrated and feel patronised,” he added and said principals have been trying to explain the situation to parents and the public.
Mr Weir said if teacher predictions were used without standardisation, the results would not have “any level of credibility” because the results would be so much higher than those achieved in previous years.
The minister acknowledged that the system for calculating A-level results “did not work for everyone”, but said that “everyone recognised there was no perfect solution”.
He said there was no way of creating a perfect replacement for sitting the exams.
In the absence of actually sitting exams, Mr Weir said there was a desire to create a “least worst solution” and said “no one suggested a different workable process for delivering fair and robust grades in the space, or time, that was available”.
Mr Weir highlighted that a fast-tracked appeals process has been established for those students who believe they have been treated unfairly.
About 28,000 pupils across the North of Ireland received their results on Thursday morning.
While the proportion of A* to A A-level grades rose by 2.3%, 37% of estimated grades were lowered; 5.3% were raised.
This year’s results were estimated after exams were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last year, 45.8% of estimated grades provided by schools matched the student’s final results.
This year, 58% of A-level and AS results matched the estimated grades.Tags: