0370 270 6000

Avoiding grade challenges on ‘unconscious bias’

26 May 2021

A system based on teacher assessed grades, rather than external exams, was inevitably going to give rise to speculation about bias and objectivity in teacher assessment and grading decisions. For example, a recent media story highlighted an international study which reported a 10% advantage in teachers' grades for pupils with more "agreeable" personalities. Reports of this kind will be of concern to parents and pupils and this could potentially lead to more appeals on these grounds once results are published in August.

Schools can prepare now for these kinds of challenges by ensuring that they have clear written evidence readily available which:

  • demonstrates that all relevant staff have actively engaged in training and been offered support on avoiding conscious and unconscious bias and the importance of objectivity in decision making
  • records how evidence was used to arrive at a fair and objective grade which is free from bias
  • evidences how the internal standardisation process ensured different perspectives and removed or reduced opportunities for bias
  • shows that any individual concerns or complaints regarding bias and objectivity have been thoroughly investigated

Our team of education and HR experts have extensive experience of supporting schools and academies on these kinds of issues. Contact our Head of HR Services, Emma Hughes, to find out more about our online staff training and self-directed learning pack on conscious and unconscious bias and objective decision making.

Related opinions

Fines for unsafe removal of asbestos in schools

In order to reduce the risk of potential breaches, schools should follow this Health and Safety Executive guidance.

View blog

Asbestos: Still the UK’s number one occupational killer

A ResPublica report highlighted that asbestos continues to be the UK’s number one occupational killer, with nurses and teachers 3 to 5 times more likely to develop mesothelioma than the general UK population. The House of Commons Work & Pensions Select Committee is investigating how the HSE manages the continued presence of asbestos in buildings.

View blog

Does the move into Step 4 mean the ending of Covid-19 restrictions within schools?

With the Prime Ministers announcement that he intends for Step 4 to begin on 19 July, this will also bring an end to the restrictions currently in place on education settings.

View blog

Advocacy in Action: Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders (FGMPO)

The issue of Female Genital Mutilation Protection Orders and the importance of education providers to act promptly.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up