Cambridge International has announced that it will revert to its pre-pandemic 2019 grading standards. This decision comes after Pakistani students expressed dissatisfaction with their AS and A-Level results, which they deemed unjust.
The controversy began when exams scheduled for May 9 and 12 were cancelled due to political unrest following the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan. As a result, average grades were assigned, leaving many students with grades of Cs and Es. The students felt wronged by this grading system and demanded the rescheduling of the cancelled exams to improve their grades.
In an official statement, a spokesperson for Cambridge International explained that the organization had been gradually aligning its qualifications’ standards with the pre-pandemic level of 2019, similar to other exam boards. The spokesperson further emphasized that the standard for the current year has been restored to that of 2019, implying that a student who would have achieved an A grade in 2019 has an equivalent chance of attaining an A in 2023.
Cambridge International acknowledged the disappointment of some Pakistani students with their results and addressed concerns about missing exam components due to the cancellations in May. The organization reassured students about the reliability of assessed marks and provided schools with clarification on the application of standards and grading for the June 2023 series.
For students who could not complete all components and were assessed based on their performance in the components they did undertake, Cambridge International has established procedures for awarding results. The spokesperson clarified that these assessed marks ensure fairness, neither advantaging nor disadvantaging students compared to those who managed to take the exam.
Despite the controversy, the spokesperson maintained that under challenging circumstances, assessed marks are the best option to enable students to receive results and progress to the next educational stage.
On August 10, over 45,000 students in Pakistan received their Cambridge International AS and A-Level results. The June 2023 series saw over 118,000 entries for Cambridge International AS and A-levels in Pakistan, marking a 10% increase from June 2022.