Official: GCSE and A-level grades to be decided by teachers

students in exam hall

Exam boards to work with schools to assign grades to students who were due to sit exams in summer 2020

Schools will decide the GCSE and A-level grades of their students this summer, the government has announced.

Teachers will be supported by exam boards and the exam regulator, Ofqual, in defining the grades of students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, the Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed in a statement.

Students should receive their grades by the end of July, with universities expecting to be flexible around applications for this year's entry, the statement adds.

Students who are unhappy with the grades they receive will be able to appeal their results, says the DfE. It adds that students will be able to sit exams at the start of the next academic year - or in the summer of 2021 - if they do not feel their calculated grade is accurate.

Outlining how the grade allocation process will work, the DfE says in its statement:

"Ofqual will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and will work with the exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students.

"The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.

"To produce this, teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment – clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly this will be provided to schools and colleges.

"The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.

"Ofqual and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible. More information will be provided as soon as possible."

Full statement from the Department for Education here

"Cancelling exams is something no education secretary would ever want to do," education secretary Gavin Williamson has said. "However these are extraordinary times and this measure is a vital but unprecedented step in the country’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"My priority now is to ensure no young person faces a barrier when it comes to moving onto the next stage of their lives – whether that’s further or higher education, an apprenticeship or a job.

"I have asked exam boards to work closely with the teachers who know their pupils best to ensure their hard work and dedication is rewarded and fairly recognised."

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