Regulator told to ‘stop defending the indefensible’ as RSS stands by claims that offer to help with algorithm was rejected.

The chief executive of the Royal Statistical Society has told Ofqual to “cease defending the indefensible” in the latest exchange in a row over the algorithm used to determine this year’s A-level and GCSE results.

The dispute began with comments made by the RSS in which the society said it had offered to help with the algorithm but objected to the proposed confidentiality agreement that experts would be required to sign and claimed it had received no official response to its concerns.

Ofqual’s chair, Roger Taylor, rebuffed the criticisms on Sunday. He said Ofqual had published a copy of the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to dispute the “restrictions you have incorrectly alleged” and denied that the regulator had failed to respond to the issues raised by the RSS.

“Your letter and comments to the press have led to widespread misunderstanding and suspicion of Ofqual’s process,” Taylor said. “I would ask that you take all measures you can to correct this impression.”

Exam results row deepens as Ofqual hits back at statistics body
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The RSS hit back on Monday, publishing a letter addressed to Taylor saying it stood by its comments, with chief executive Stian Westlake describing his complaints as “baseless”. He said one lawyer described the NDA, which would have prohibited experts from revealing any confidential information that Ofqual didn’t choose to publish for five years, as “very widely drafted”.

He also said the RSS “didn’t receive answers from Ofqual to the questions we raised about the NDA and about our involvement. (We did receive an email giving a generic reassurance that it was all fine … 51 days after we asked them. How reassuring would you find that?)”

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