A-level results

The nightmare for the latest bunch of A-level students took me back to 4 years ago when my eldest daughter had a fiasco with her exam results -luckily, in retrospect, in her case they had not published ALL the results - the mistakes were legion - data entry problems, missing coursework modules, some modules which were given 30 marks of the total and should actually have been given 60 - you name it, they got it wrong!

Now, my daughter was at one of the (then) new Technology Colleges - and this problem with the results affected ALL of the sixth-formers in her year.

She had great strength of mind and, backed up by us, she made sufficient fuss (including interviews with the BBC and local newspapers) so that the exam board (the newly merged at that time Oxford and Cambridge board) eventually got her correct results out only two weeks after they were due. She had found out what went on behind the scenes at the Universities and persuaded both her first and second choice of University to hold her place until long after all the places were allocated - and, when the results eventually came out the first choice university were so impressed with how she had handled it that they gave her a place, even though the final marks did not quite make the required grade.

She proved worthy of their trust and graduated last summer.

However, the story was not such a happy one for the other pupils in her class - who had to make other arrangements just like so many students have had to do this year.

In this past 4 years I have taken a keen interest in the problems of A-level results and noticed that they have increased every year. 2 years ago there was the fiasco in Scotland. There have been ongoing problems with coursework marks. Fortunately my elder son did not appear to have problems last year when he came to take A-levels - at leats he got the grades he required so one assumes that was OK.

Howver, my younger daughter will be going through the same drama next year - and after this years complete fiasco, I cannot help but worry about what is going on.

Will there be genuine changes and improvements? Or will those nominally in charge be so busy proving that it 'wasn't their fault' that it is all swept carefully under the carpet?

The data entry type problems doubtless still exist( for example, entering 17 instead of 71) - and the new computer systems undoubtedly have glitches - there are so many different modules (in all the modular subjects) - that the number of numbers to be checked for each individual is horrendous ( for the AS levels my younger daughter has 12 constituent parts to her exam results) - is it any wonder that there are errors?