Today exams watchdog Ofqual has confirmed that GCSE and A-Level grades will be decided by schools and colleges.
Due to interruptions to learning A-Level, GCSE Exams and Scottish Higher exams were cancelled across the UK, due to disparities in the time students have spent in schools and colleges, and fears that if exams were to go ahead, a level playing field could not be guaranteed for all students.
How Will Grades Be Determined?
Schools and colleges are to use a combination of mock exams, courseworks, essays, and assignments to set students’ A-Level and GCSE grades, methods used will be decided by each individual school. There is also the option for teachers to set their students optional assessments created by exam boards for all subjects. These assessments would not be taken in exam conditions or solely decide the final grades. Teachers would be able to choose how long students have to complete each task, and when they would be taken.
The government are eager to avoid a repeat of last year's results day fiasco which saw 40% A-Level grades downgraded.Education secretary, Gavin Williamson, says by “asking those who know [students] best – their teachers – to determine their grades” is “the fairest possible system” for them.
Written vocational exams will not go ahead, with teachers’ grades being used instead. Some practical skills tested exams will continue, but in a COVID safe manner.
Ofqual’s interim chief regulator, Simon Lebus, has said: “The aim [of schools setting grades] is to make it no harder overall for this year’s students to receive a particular grade than students in other years.”
Schools and colleges will need to submit their grades to exam boards by June 18th. In June and July, exam boards will conduct checks and scrutinise results of a random selection of schools to ensure that students deserve the grades they’re given.
What If You're Not Happy With Your Grades?
If you’re unhappy with the grades set by your school you will have the opportunity to appeal, unlike with A-Level or GCSE exams you will not have to pay to appeal your grades. An independent body will adjudicate between your school and yourself to ensure you are awarded the correct grades based on evidence you and your school provide.
A full series of optional GCSE and A-Level exams are to go ahead in the Autumn term, so you will have the opportunity to sit exams.
When Is Results Day?
A-Level and GCSE results days have both been brought forward to early August. A-level results day will now be on 10 August, with GCSEs results given out on 12 August. Results day is earlier this year to give a buffer for appeals, and to avoid a frantic clearing scramble as seen last year. The results of some vocational exams, such as BTECs, will be released during the week of 9 August.