I am writing to update you on how qualifications for students taking A Levels and GCSEs are going to be awarded this summer in the absence of exams taking place.
Ofqual, the exams regulator has today provided more information on how grades will be provided. Ofqual has stressed that their over-riding aim is to be fair to students and to make sure they are not disadvantaged in their progress to sixth form, college, university, apprenticeships, training or work because of these unprecedented circumstances.
Schools are being asked to provide the exam boards with two pieces of information for every subject that a student is studying. This will be based on what teachers know about students’ work and achievements:
- Firstly, the grade that the teacher believes the student would most likely have got, if teaching, learning and exams had gone ahead as planned.
- Secondly, within each subject, the order of students at school by performance for each grade.
This second piece of information will be used to standardise judgements across the whole country – basically, allowing Ofqual and the exam board to fine tune the standard that is applied across schools and colleges so that it is as fair as possible to everyone.
As part of this process, we will be considering things like classwork and homework, results in assignments and any mock exams, any coursework, and general progress during the course.
Ofqual and the exam boards will then look at all of this information across the country and standardise the approach, so that no one is disadvantaged or advantaged if schools have been too harsh or too generous. What this means in practice is that the final grade students are given may in fact be slightly different to the grade that teachers have submitted.
For this reason Ofqual have said that grades submitted and order of students should remain confidential and we are therefore not able to share these with students.
Results are expected to be issued around the same time as any normal year, and Ofqual have said that it may be possible to issue them a little earlier. We will, of course, keep you updated on this as we have more information. Ofqual are also offering reassurance that grades will look exactly the same as they would in any other year, and they will have equal status with universities, colleges and employers, to help students move forward in their lives as planned.
If students are unhappy with the grades they receive in the summer, there will be the option to take exams in the autumn term, and Ofqual will be providing us with more information on this in the coming weeks, which we will share with you.
The information published today from Ofqual does not cover BTECs and other vocational qualifications. More information has been promised on these in the coming weeks, and again we will update you as soon as we have this information.
As ever, if you have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch.