“My message to young people waiting on results in the morning is to be proud of all your hard work and study this year. The grades that you will receive tomorrow are just as valuable and valid as those awarded in previous years.
“Over the last number of weeks, there has been much speculation about what tomorrow’s AS and A Level results will look like. This is always a worrying and stressful time for young people and the pandemic has only added to their anxiety this year.
“I recognise that recent coverage of the statistical standardisation process, and its potential impact on students’ grades, will have further heightened young people’s concern about their results.
“I have met with CCEA to get clarity around the statistical models used, and they have reassured me that these draw on a range of information, including an individual’s prior attainment record and school assessment information.
“CCEA have been proactive in engaging with young people to explain the replacement grading system and I applaud them for their efforts to address young people’s concerns and to reassure them at this very difficult and uncertain time.
“I welcome that a school’s results from previous years have not been used to standardise A-Level grades.
“I also recognise that CCEA has collected predicted grades and marks from teachers for several years, and therefore anticipate that teacher assessments will be given due weighting and be appropriately reflected in tomorrow’s results.
“We will be closely monitoring the situation tomorrow and expect CCEA to take swift action if the results are not as expected and issues emerge.
“For some time now I have called for a more robust appeals process to be open to young people who believe they have not been graded correctly or fairly.
“I welcome that CCEA has now put mechanisms in place for young people if they feel their school or college has not properly followed their appeals or complaints procedure.
“I want to remind students that they can appeal through their school or college if they are concerned that their grade is not a fair reflection of their academic achievements.
“I also welcome CCEA’s announcement that schools can use results from mock exams to appeal, if they feel a pupil’s grade is wrong.
“These are extraordinary times and the young people receiving results this summer have had to deal with an unprecedented set of circumstances. It is important that we celebrate and recognise their resilience and their remarkable achievements both in school and out of it and I wish them every success for tomorrow.”
Notes to Editors