A-level and GCSE grades will be handed out fairly

Sally Collier has reassured that this year’s A-level and GCSE students will not suffer from being the first to take the new, tougher, exams.

With hundreds of thousands of families anxiously awaited the publication of this summer’s A-level and GCSE results, England’s chief qualifications regulator sought to reassure parents and students that the final grades would be fairly distributed and in the same way as in previous years, despite this year’s exams being more testing.

Ofqual, alongside the exam boards, use a process known as comparable outcomes to fix the proportion of grades awarded in both qualifications based on prior attainment, with the outcomes at A-level set using the year-groups’ GCSE results two years’ previously, while at GCSE the proportions are based on tests taken at the end of primary school five years ago.


Collier, stressing the importance of continuity, said: “There has been commentary that the exams were harder – and, truly, students have been studying more challenging content. That was the government’s policy intention in reforming these qualifications. But the approach we adopt, known as comparable outcomes, means that students aren’t disadvantaged relative to students in previous years just by being the first cohort to sit the new qualifications.”

A-level results will be published on 16 August, followed by GCSEs the following week, in which the familiar letter grades from A-G are replaced by the numbers 9-1 in many subjects.

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