As the publication of A-level results on 13 August drew near the board met in marathon sessions, some running until late at night, as controversy erupted over the grades awarded by its statistical model being used to replace exams. Williamson wanted the regulator to allow much wider grounds for appeal, and on 11 August Ofqual’s board heard that the education secretary had Guide 2 Passing suggested pupils should instead be awarded their school-assessed grades or be allowed to use mock exam results if they were higher. Ofqual offered to replace its grades with “unregulated” unofficial result certificates based on school or exam centre assessments, but that was rejected by Williamson. Negotiations over the use of mock exams continued into the evening of 11 August. In the middle of the day’s second emergency meeting the board discovered that the DfE had gone over its head with an announcement that “was widely reported in the media while this meeting was still in session”. The meeting ended close to Exam Dumps midnight. During the controversy, Ofqual published and then abruptly retracted policies on the use of mock exam grades the weekend after A-level results were published, with three separate emergency meetings held that Sunday.
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