The U.K. has made a U-turn over its exam grades system for students hoping to attend university. The government used a controversial algorithm to determine the grades of students who did not take exams due to COVID-19. The algorithm failed and gave students grades that were lower than those predicted by teachers. About 40 per cent were downgraded. Most affected students live in poorer areas. Many of them did not get into university as a result, despite not taking an exam. Grades for many richer students in private schools were higher than predicted.
The algorithm is now a scandal. Parents and students are furious. They called the government grossly incompetent for ruining the dreams and future of England's young people. One person said the algorithm was designed by the elite for the elite. After a major government U-turn, grades will now be based on the predictions of teachers. The UK Education Secretary said: "I am sorry for the distress this has caused young people and their parents but hope this announcement will now provide the certainty and reassurance they deserve."