Calculated grades to be used after exam cancellations

Ofqual and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, following government action to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The exam regulator has said that it expects universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.

GCSE, A and AS level students, for whom exams will not take place at the normal time or in the normal way this year, will be given the option to sit an exam early next year if they wish to. But in most cases, 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.

As such, exam boards will be asking teachers to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead. This will take into account performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment. To help teachers with this, the Department for Education will supply schools with clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly in due course.

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.

The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July, with the grades awarded set to be indistinguishable from those provided in other years when it comes to a permanent record.

As well as having the opportunity to sit an exam at the earliest reasonable chance, any student who does not believe the correct process has been followed in their case will be able to appeal on that basis. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Cancelling exams is something no Education Secretary would ever want to do, 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.”

Read more