Newton Emerson: North’s grading mess shows pointlessness of GCSEs

Ditching exams at 16 could let Northern Ireland transform its faltering school system

(L to R) Kylie McComb, Kathleen Malone, and Ruben Hughes protest  in Belfast over grading  by algorithm on Monday. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

(L to R) Kylie McComb, Kathleen Malone, and Ruben Hughes protest in Belfast over grading by algorithm on Monday. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

It feels as if all the long-denied problems with Northern Ireland’s education system have suddenly come to a head.

Attempting to calculate A-level results by algorithm has emphasised social divisions in school achievement, which are worse in the North than in any other part of the UK.

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