Ofqual boss’s algorithm malfunction

Gavin Williamson has taken a lot of stick for the A-level exams debacle, but Mr Steerpike thinks we should perhaps look to Roger Taylor, the chair of Ofqual, who also happens to be head of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation. Not many people think that using an algorithm to decide exam results was the best option, but it becomes even more questionable when you realise that Taylor led a study last year, warning of algorithms propensity to ‘make decisions which reinforce pre-existing social inequalities’. The study states: ‘concerns are growing that without proper oversight, algorithms risk entrenching and potentially worsening bias.’ Unfortunately, concerns hadn’t grown enough to prevent

Don’t forget about BTECs during the A-level circus

The summer ritual of A-level results day is so well known it’s easy to forget the thousands of students receiving their BTec National results. That’s the intro to a BBC News item on vocational qualification results issued today. It’s also the story of British culture and economics, told in a single, unwittingly revealing, sentence. Around 250,000 kids will get BTEC results today – that’s almost as many as the 300,000 or so who get A-level results. But of course, media and political attention paid to the latter group is vastly greater than the former. Why? Because BTECs are for other people: people who are poorer and whose parents didn’t do A-levels