How GCSEs and A levels will be awarded this summer – everything you need to know
This summer’s GCSE and A level exams were cancelled as schools closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Students and their parents have since been waiting anxiously for clarification about how grades would be awarded, and the Government has now issued an update.
Ofqual, the exams regulator, says it has ‘worked at speed’ to develop a process which ‘fairly recognises students’ work and makes sure they get their grades in time to progress’.
Schools and colleges are being asked to provide centre assessment grades for their students, which the regulator says should be ‘fair, objective and carefully considered judgements’ of the grades they believe their students would have been most likely to achieve had they sat their exams.
Ofqual’s chief regulator Sally Collier said: “School or college based assessment already has an important role in many GCSEs, AS and A levels and in extraordinary circumstances such as these, schools and colleges are best placed to judge the likely performance of their students at the end of the course.”
Schools will be asked to submit grades for each pupil
She said that exam boards would contact schools, colleges and other exam centres after Easter, asking them to submit a ‘centre assessment grade’ for every student in each of their subjects by a deadline which will be no earlier than May 29 this year.
Judgements should balance different sources of evidence, explained Ms Collier, including work in the classroom, written work, participation in performances in subjects like music, drama and PE, the results of any assignments or mock exams and previous examination results.
Work in the classroom, written assignments and mock exams can be used to determine those grades
Schools and colleges will also be asked to rank their students within each grade awarded, indicating which of the pupils predicted to achieve that grade are considered the most secure/highest attaining.
Ofqual said those rankings would be used when ‘standardising’ the results to ensure grades are as fair as possible across the country.
Exactly how that will work is still being drawn up, but the regulator says it is likely to consider evidence including the expected national outcomes for this year’s students and recent results at the different schools and colleges.
Submitted grades could be adjusted up or down
It will not change the order in which students have been ranked by each school or college, said Ofqual, but if some schools or colleges appear to have been more generous or severe than others the grades of some or all of their students could be adjusted downwards or upwards.
Schools and colleges have been told not to share their centre assessment grades with students, parents or carers until after the final results are issued.
Results may be available before the dates on which they were expected this August
Ofqual said that results would definitely be available by the dates they were expected in August and would ideally be released ‘a little earlier’.
It added that appeals would be allowed where appropriate and students will also have the opportunity to sit exams at the ‘earliest reasonable opportunity’ in the new academic year.