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Coronavirus: How Will GCSEs & A Levels Be Graded In 2020?

As GCSE and A-level students are now well aware, that due to the Coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, their results will now be based on teacher assessment, class ranking and the past performance of their school, rather than the final formal exams they may have otherwise expected to take.

Exam boards will now ask schools, and relevant subject teachers, to take into account a wide range of evidence and data, such as mock exam results and other school work, with teachers then expected to recommend a grade for their students. The proposed grades will be expected to be fair, objective and considered, and based on all available evidence.

Once a proposed grade has been assigned to students, teachers will be asked to rank students within their proposed grade band, based on how sure the teacher is that any particular student would have gone on to acheive the proposed grade, had they sat the final exams.

Students calculated grades will then be a best assessment of the work they have put in so far, combined with how well students from their particular school had previously performed in the relevant exams. 

Schools will submit their assessments, and proposed grades, to the relevant exam boards by 29th May 2020, where the exam boards will then apply a standardisation process, to ensure that final grades are as fair as they can be across different schools, and to avoid grade inflation. This may mean that the proposed grades, are adjusted upwards, or downwards, accordingly.

Ofqual, the qualifcations regulator, has stated that they expect to publish results on the expected publicaton date of 13th August.

Ofqual is currently consulting on an appeals system for qualifications that will be awarded this summer, so if you are not happy with the grades you have been awarded, then there is likely to be some method to appeal against them. Students will also have the option to sit an exam as soon as reasonably possible, but almost certainly in the next academic year, scheduled to start in September, or even in summer 2021, according to Department for Education.

UCAS applications

The Government has asked universities to stop making unconditional offers or amending existing offers for two weeks.

This is because they’re worried students will feel pressured to accept these offers over others you might be better suited to.

The advice to students who have received an unconditional offer is always to consider whether this is the right provider and course for you, before you make any decision.     

To give you time to make your decisions – and to understand more about how qualifications will be awarded this summer, UCAS have now extended:  

  • their May’s offer deadline for UCAS undergraduate applicants  
  • the rolling decision dates for UCAS teacher training applicants and providers.  

If you’re affected by this extension, UCAS will email you your new decision deadline once it’s set.    

During this time, it’s important to remember that places are not decided on grades alone. Information in your personal statement and reference are part of the decision-making process along with your interview, portfolio, audition, and any other information that’s relevant to your potential to succeed on an undergraduate course.