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GCSE results 2020: UAE schools 'happy' amid grading chaos

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 20, 2020
GCSE, UAE schools, Education, Covid-19 pandemic

Top scorers have said they would've preferred to write the exams instead of being graded on predicted scores as it would give 'all pupils a fair advantage'.

Thousands of British curriculum students in the UAE received their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examination results on Thursday, amid several rounds of exam chaos. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic-driven restrictions, students could not physically sit for their examinations.

Instead, they were graded based on their performances in mock examinations, predicted grades presented by the teachers to the board and school assignments, after a 'flawed algorithm' was scrapped in a series of U-turns by British education authorities.

Adding to confusion on Wednesday, exam board Pearson said it would recalculate grades for BTecs, a specialist vocational qualification, merely hours before students were due to receive their grades.

Consistent efforts paid off: UAE pupils

Several students who began receiving their results since early morning told Khaleej Times that they are happy with the results as it is an indicator of their consistent efforts in the school.

Some top scorers also said they would have preferred to write the examinations as opposed to being graded on predicted scores as some students perform exceedingly well in a board exam.

Joseph Kisal Randira Jayasinghe, a student of Cambridge International School in Dubai who scored got eight A* (grade 9-8) in total, said though he had apprehensions about the grading system in the beginning, he is very happy with the results. "I feel this is a better way to do this. It provides an accurate picture of how consistent the student has been over the course of the IGCSE curriculum, instead of being graded for just one paper," he said.

Tahsin Jawwad, a pupil of The Winchester School in Jebel Ali, scored an impressive nine A* (grade9-8) and one A (grade 7). He said: "For grading this year, I had uploaded the results of my mock and previous exams, and assignments that I've done over the past two years."

'We are proud of our students,' say heads of schools

Heads of schools in the UAE said they are 'incredibly proud of their students' for their excellent performances amid the 'unprecedented crisis'.

Dr Ken Greig, headmaster of Brighton College Al Ain, said: "I am particularly pleased for our Emirati pupils, who overall achieved 96 per cent at grades 9-4 and 64 per cent 9-7 which is a record for us. We are proud to have some of the highest achieving Emirati pupils in the country and I look forward to watching their continued progress."

Simon Jodrell , principal of Dubai British School Emirates Hills, said the school witnessed another hugely successful set of GSCE results with 668 examination entries, taken by 69 students. He said: "Forty-one per cent of students achieved 9-8 grades, with 83 per cent of all grades being inclusive of 9-6 and a 100 per cent pass rate overall."

Meanwhile, Dubai British School Jumeirah Park received its first-ever GCSE results on Thursday with 275 exam entries from 32 students. Brendon Fulton, executive principal of the school, said 37 per cent of the exam entries scored 9 and the school had a pass percentage of 100 per cent.

'Exceeded benchmark set by KHDA'

Repton School headmaster David Cook said 39 per cent of students were awarded the maximum 9-8 grade, with 58 per cent securing the 9-7 grade. Overall, 89 per cent of the examinations taken were graded 5 grade or above, exceeding the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) benchmark in determining outstanding attainment, which is anything over 75 per cent."

Darren Gale, principal at Horizon International School, part of Al Najah Education, said 100 per cent of its students achieved at least five 9-4 grades and 100 per cent of students scored grades 4 or above in English Language, English Literature and Science.

Aldar Academies said that more than 95 per cent of its students have achieved GCSE grades between 9 and 4, boasting overall results more than seven per cent higher than last year. "More than 56 per cent achieved grades above a seven, with over 21 per cent achieving a grade 9, over five times the 2019 national average," said Sahar Cooper, CEO of Aldar Education.

2,700 Gems students attempt 19,600 GCSEs

According to a statement, students from 21 Gems Education schools celebrated 'a successful year of GCSE results on Thursday'. Gems schools had a record 2,700 students who took over 19,600 IGCSE/GCSEs.

The statement said: "Across the Gems network, more than 500 students achieved the highest grade 9. Of all grades across Gems schools, 49 per cent attained grade 9-7 and 76 per cent were grade 9-5."

Jodh Singh Dhesi, deputy chief education officer, Gems Education, said: "These results reflect not only the hard work and determination of our students but, also showcases the support of their parents and the dedication of our teachers." Matthew Burfield, vice-president, education and principal, Gems Founders School, Dubai, said: "The school celebrated its first full set of IGCSE/GCSE results this year. We achieved 44 per cent 9-7 grades and 77 per cent 9-5 grades which are well above national and international standards."

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88


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