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Exams Guidance

How will grades be calculated?

The exam regulator, Ofqual, will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, following our actions to slow the spread of coronavirus. Your school or college will be asked to send exam boards two pieces of information for each of your subjects, based on what they know about your work and achievements: 

  • the grade they believe you were most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned
  • within each subject, the order of students at your school or college, by performance, for each grade. This information will be used to standardise judgements – allowing fine tuning of the standard applied across schools and colleges

Your school or college will consider a range of things like your classwork and homework; your results in assignments and any mock exams; any non-exam assessment or coursework you might have done; and your general progress during your course.

This information will allow Ofqual, with exam boards, to standardise grades across schools and colleges, to make sure that, as far as possible, results are fair and that students are not advantaged or disadvantaged because their schools or colleges are more generous or harsh than others when making those judgements. That means the final grade you get could be different from the one your school or college sends to the exam board.

Do I need to complete any new work for my school/college to submit a grade? 

Your school or college is not required to set additional mock exams or homework for your centre assessment grade, and you won’t be disadvantaged if you were not set, or were unable to complete, any work given out after schools were closed.

Can I see the grades my school/college submits for me?

No, this information will be confidential. Please don’t ask your teachers, or anyone else at your school or college to tell you the grades they will be sending to the exam boards or where they have placed you in the order of students; they will not be allowed to share this with you.

I am a private candidate – what does this mean for me?

If you are a private candidate (for example, home-schooled, following distance-learning programmes or studying independently) the centre you are entering with should include you where the head teacher or principal is confident that they and their staff have seen sufficient evidence of your achievement to make an objective judgement.

When will I get my results?

Results are expected in August but will ideally be issued a little earlier, so you can have the certainty you need. 

Can I take my exams another time?

Ofqual are working with exam boards to offer additional exams in the autumn term as soon as it is possible to do so. Please be reassured that the grades you get this summer will look exactly the same as in previous years, and they will have equal status with universities, colleges and employers, to help you move forward in your lives as planned.

Vocational & technical qualifications

Students taking qualifications, alongside or instead of GCSEs, AS and A levels, to progress further or to higher education urgently need to know what arrangements will be put in place for them. The Department for Education are confirming that these qualifications will be awarded a calculated result.

Calculated results will draw on a range of evidence, depending on the structure of the qualification. They may be based in part on teacher, trainer or tutor judgements of the result each learner would most likely have achieved had they been able to complete their assessments in summer 2020.

Any centre assessment grade will be based on a range of evidence held by the school college or training provider. Depending on the structure of the qualification, centres may be asked to provide a centre assessment grade for the whole qualification, or for uncompleted modules or units. There may be some instances where a rank order of learners may be required.

Where appropriate, statistical techniques based on students’ results in previous years, on these and on their academic qualifications, will form part of the adopted approach.

The Department for Education are working with awarding organisations to finalise a list of qualifications that should be in scope for learners to receive a calculated result. Where this is not possible, awarding bodies will be encouraged to adapt assessments or delivery models as long as this does not undermine the reliability of the result and only where assessments can take place within the current social distancing rules.