So, some background for anyone not paying attention. England has a plague doing the rounds. For the first time ever, the government reacted by ordering the closure of all the schools in the country.
An unforeseen consequence of this order was that none of the annual national examinations could take place, for 16 and 18 year olds.
University places for admissions later in the summer are contingent on grades from these exams, particularly on the grades at 18.
The government chose, with an astounding lack of common sense, to allocate grades without examination of the students. Having gone down this lunatic rabbit hole they could have simply allocated the grades in alphabetical order of surname and that would have sorted the matter with a degree of fairness but no, being the government they had to screw the process up.
The governmental clerics had at their disposal the following data for each student:
- Mock exam results from before March;
- Teacher grade estimates sent with applications for university places;
- Last year's exam results for the school, by subject.
- Last year's grade distribution curves for the country, by subject.
Can you see what it is yet?
No! They can't have! I hear you cry. Oh but they did. They did some sort of meld of the estimates and the mocks, they then normalized every student by how the school performed last year and then they normalized each entire subject to last year's grades.
And then they made an error of judgement. Yes they distributed the results to the students and the universities as their actual official grade, but they also announced in passing that this normalizing involved marking 40% of the grades down from the teacher estimates. The government was then threatened with dismemberment, panicked, and finally announced that every student could have the higher of their unadjusted estimate or mock result.
This year's student cohort in England now has the best exam grade results of all time and the universities are committed, by law of contract, to taking far more students than they have places for.
Nobody, of course, has resigned.