TSR Answers: Video Q&A with Ofqual, Pearson and the ASCL on GCSE and A-level grading

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Evil Homer
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Welcome to our first TSR Answers Video Q&A


This was filmed live on Friday 22nd May - you can see the recorded video streaming above!

We asked your questions around GCSE and A-level grading, and asked our panel to get you the answers you need.

In the video you'll hear from Richard Garrett from Ofqual, Derek Richardson from Pearson and Duncan Baldwin from the ASCL (Association of School and College Leaders).

Thank you to everyone who asked questions and don't forgot to tune in for our future events, every week in this forum!

Sign up for alerts and check out the events we have lined up over the next few months here!

To view this event live you will need to a member, sign up to TSR here!

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Last edited by BlinkyBill; 2 days ago
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学生の父
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Q: How will you ensure that candidates in small cohort subjects will be given a fair grade? For example, if only 1 or 2 candidates in a centre are given Centre Assessed Grades for a subject, is the standardisation model likely to alter the CAGs up or down?
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LotzofA's
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Q: How is it fair for schools to deny candidates who are clearly deserving of a grade (going up by only one, evidence withstanding), who are then forced to spend thousands of pounds on external centres who, although they are endorsed by the exam board, don’t even seem to be properly regulated themselves? How is an external centre going to be able to have better judgement of me than the school I’ve been at for 7 years?
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am_235
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how are private retake candidates going to get “the grades they deserve” this summer when their work over the past year has been disregarded as centers can only use evidence from yr12/13 while others are be rejected by centers completely or having to pay thousands to get a grade?
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m7r
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On May 8th, my exam centre refused to provide a centre assessment grade for all private candidates. 8th of May was the deadline day for most exam centres. I have called many exam centres from my city and tried different cities but no exam centre would accept me because of how late I am applying and them no longer accepting any new students. After several back and forth emails, I was withdrawn from the centre on May 15th.

I am being put in a massive disadvantaged position, where my career is put at risk. Last year, I had poorly performed due to circumstances, not under my control. I had been extremely sick, also taken to the hospital during the exam period which was the cause of my poor performance, hence why I decided to resit.

I cannot afford to lose one more year. I have all the evidence proving that I had sufficiently studied and deserve to get a grade, but due to malpractice of exam centres, my education is put at risk and I have no option. I have worked really hard and cannot afford to lose one more year by doing autumn exams. What do I do now?
Last edited by m7r; 1 week ago
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Gwil
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Q: How will private candidates be included in the standardisation process?

For example, I'm a homeschooler who has never even studied at a secondary school in the UK, so the record of the school which happens to be my exam centre is completely irrelevant to my ability and educational history. I think it's so important that standardisation is used to ensure that each candidate gets the grade that reflects their ability, not to maintain national statistics in a way that discriminates unfairly against certain individuals.
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satsun
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I am a private candidate and assume I will have to sit the Autumn Exams. I understand it may be difficult to give specific dates but people online are saying all subjects won’t be available. Is this the case and if so, is there any point revising for the Autumn exams until those subjects are released?
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Chocolate Hobnob
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How exactly is the standardisation model going to work? If there are many students of equal near inseparable calibre who, if they had taken the exam, would have all got As, how is it fair that the people placed at the bottom of the rank are at risk of having their grade slashed. Yes I’m worried about the grades my teachers might give me, but I feel unwell thinking about what the exam board is going to do with them. is this not just a complete stab in the dark and a game of chance.
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Treetop321
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Q: How will the standardisation process be fair? Is it actually fair that exam boards will change grades even though they haven't seen any of the student's work? You also have the problem of the rank order not actually showing how secure each student is. A student may have been a high 8 all year, but get moved down because everyone else was a very high 8. Also, why do exam boards need around 2 months to standardise grades? How much "changing student's grades" are you doing?
Last edited by Treetop321; 1 week ago
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owenwilliams1
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Q: Ofqual have stated that prior achievement from centres will be used within the "standardisation" process of the grades, has Ofqual not thought about the use of personal prior achievement in exams previously taken by individual students, this could be particularly helpful in determining whether a student deserves to go up or down on their own merit not the achievement of students from previous cohorts. While this is not an exact science, I still think that all factors should be taken into account particularly past personal achievements (e.g. GCSE results for A level students).
Last edited by owenwilliams1; 1 week ago
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i’m-confused
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Can universities allow delayed starts or deferred entries for private candidates who have to sit their exams in the Autumn and when will we get a policy for this? And are the grade boundaries expected to be higher?
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myguytyrone
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Why is the UK not holding online exams as every other country who still faces lockdown is doing? Is it not completely reasonable that we are given the same chance to perform on an actual, fair, even playing field as our companions in other countries are instead of relying on teacher judgements that we have no control over, and are at best, biased on past achievement?
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mattlcfc
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Will it be acknowledged that students would’ve improved between March and May?
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Sidd1
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Will there be an Autumn exam series and will this still enable those students who want to sit those exams to attend University this year?
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Sidd1
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I have recently seen your publishing regarding A levels grades and GCSE standardisation and am quite confused as to why for A levels 2017, 2018 and 2019 "historical evidence" will be used to determine grades of the 2020 cohort. How would that possibly make the process "fair and robust?". Surely the way a lot of students see it is to look at individual performances over the year or so. Finally, regarding those students who are retaking, whether they're external candidates or candidates re-enrolled at their previous institute, why are their previous grades being used to determine their exceptional hard work and efforts put in this year? Surely the whole reason to retake was to do better and not have their previous achievements drag them down. I just don't think it's fair at all.
Last edited by Sidd1; 1 week ago
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peaches456
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My state school won't take into account any work set after lock down was announced (March 20th). My friend is at a local private school and they are still continuing to assess work. They even had online exams recently which the school will use to assess the pupils. That means my friend has some control over grades, but I don't.

Ofqual, why didn't you set a fixed cut-off date for all schools rather than create this unfair situation?
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5thchild
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(Original post by peaches456)
My state school won't take into account any work set after lock down was announced (March 20th). My friend is at a local private school and they are still continuing to assess work. They even had online exams recently which the school will use to assess the pupils. That means my friend has some control over grades, but I don't.

Ofqual, why didn't you set a fixed cut-off date for all schools rather than create this unfair situation?
My daughter attended a private school and the day school closed was the last opportunity for many work to be assessed or considered
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peaches456
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(Original post by 5thchild)
My daughter attended a private school and the day school closed was the last opportunity for many work to be assessed or considered
The thing is there are some schools (the only ones I've heard of are private) assessing work done after 20th March. It should be the same for every pupil everywhere.
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kath1809
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Will schools be allowed to open on results day for year 11 or year 13 students? I’m speaking as a year 13 student and I understand the importance of social distancing and keeping safe but results day in August is the one day that the year 13 cohort needs their teachers to help with appeals, clearing and advice when grades go in an unexpected direction. If results are emailed, students will become disadvantaged further and will be unable to receive the same support in the same efficient way. So, what is the likelihood of the year 13 (and 11) cohort being allowed to collect their results personally and alleviate their concerns with their teachers regarding grades and next steps even with social distancing in place? Will it be down to individual schools or the government? With the amount of uncertainty with what grades people will get and how fair it will be, will people be allowed to go and see their teachers to discuss it?
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Mikos
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If Autumn exams are to be used, when will we get results?

I am intending to make an early application (applying to Cambridge), post-results. Due to extenuating circumstances, I underperformed at AS, but have since returned to A* standards. If my universities cannot access my final results by I would guess mid-November, there is a good chance that I will not even get an interview. What will exam boards, Ofqual and/or other relevant bodies be doing to ensure the results can be given in good time?
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