Ed Richardson, our Director of Education and Harriet Blomefield, our lead consultant answer key questions relating to this year's GCSEs and A Levels. The recording took place on 17th April and was correct at time of recording.
Q&A below correct as of 16.04.2020
What has the government announced with respect to this summer’s exams?
Since their initial statement on March 18th, the Department for Education provided further clarification on 3rd April 2020 as to how grades will be awarded.
How will results be assessed?
The government's latest statement confirms that exam boards will be asking schools to submit the following:
- centre assessment grade for every student in each of their subjects: that is, the grade they would be most likely to have achieved if they had sat their exams and completed any non-exam assessment. Judgements should balance different sources of evidence such as:
- any participation in performances in subjects such as music, drama or PE
- any non-exam assessment – whether or not complete
- the results of any assignments or mock exams
- previous examination results – for example, for any re-sitting students or those with relevant AS qualifications
- any other records of student performance over the course of study
- the rank order of students within each grade for each subject – for example, for all those students with a centre assessment grade of 5 in GCSE maths, a rank order where 1 is the most secure/highest attaining student, and so on. This information will be used in the statistical standardisation of centres’ judgements – allowing fine tuning of the standard applied across all schools and colleges
- a declaration from the Head of Centre making the submission
Will this be the same for private candidates and home educated students?
Information is provided in this letter to students.
When will grades be submitted to exam boards?
"The deadline will not be earlier than 29 May 2020 and centres will have a window of at least two weeks in which to submit the data."
When will results be released?
A level results will be published on 13 August and GCSEs on 20 August.
What options do students have if they are dissatisfied with their grades?
"We are all focused on making sure students are not disadvantaged by these unprecedented circumstances including to allow for an appeal where appropriate. Under the circumstances, the normal arrangements for reviews of marking and appeals will not apply. We are considering what arrangements might be put in place to allow an effective appeal and will consult on proposals shortly. Students who feel that their grades from the summer do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the autumn series or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, both grades will stand."
Key Points to Consider For Student Preparation
- The latest government statement confirms that there is no requirement to set additional mock exams or homework tasks to inform grade judgements. However, schools can use work completed between schools closing on 20th March and the submission of grades to inform their judgement, whilst taking care to ensure that the current circumstances do not disadvantage students. We are aware that a number of independent schools have informed their students that they will be using work set during the Easter holidays and in the summer term to help inform their judgement of the overall grade.
- It is clear that students who are not happy with their grade (aside from the appeal process) will have the option of sitting the exam ‘early in the next academic year’. This appears to be particularly relevant to GCSE students who are proceeding to sixth form and A level students who need to meet certain university grades, and therefore may want to have the opportunity to sit the exam formally in the Autumn.
With this in mind as well as being beneficial on an educational basis, we feel it is prudent for students to look to complete their GCSE and A Level studies as best they can in order to:
- be ready for teacher-led assessment that schools may conduct to help inform grades;
- be ready to formally sit their exams next academic year; and
- be well placed to begin the next phase of their education (either at A Level or University) when things finally return to normal!
What about International exams outside the UK?
The IB, CIE, Edexcel, and AQA have also cancelled their summer 2020 exam series. Further information as to their approach to awarding grades is available on their websites and regularly being updated.