UK Announces A Level and GCSE Award Process

Following the decision take on 18th March by the UK Government to cancel A Level and GCSE exams for 2020 in light of the Covid-19 virus, it has now announced the process through which students will receive their grades.
This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19
Covid-19
Do your children attend a UAE school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.
LET'S GO
Covid-19
This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19

Announcing the process that Exam Boards will follow as a result of the cancellation of all public exams in the UK, a statement by the UK's Department of Education  on 20th March stated that the Exam Regulator, Ofqual, and Exam Boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer, following its actions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier today, the Pearson Edexcel Exam Board stated that where international schools are closed and public exams are not permitted due to Covid-19, students will have the opportunity to receive a grade for qualifications where an entry has been made. These will be awarded using the same principles as for UK GCSE and GCE A Levels. The Cambridge International Exam Board and Oxford AQA are expected to follow suit where students are unable to sit their IGCSE, International AS and A Level exams.

According to a statement released by the Department of Education in the name of Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, the Government's priority "is now to ensure affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including going into employment, starting university, college or sixth form courses, or an apprenticeship in the autumn."

The process, which Ofqual will develop, will provide a calculated grade to each GCSE, A and AS level student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and Ofqual will work with the Exam Boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to.  The Exam Boards will be asking teachers, "who know their students best", to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.

Teachers will be asked to take into account a range of evidence and data including performance in mock exams and non-exam assessment. Guidance on how to do this fairly and in a robust manner, 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.

The process has not yet been finalised, but Ofqual and the Exam Boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising the approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible. 

The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July. In terms of a permanent record, the grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years. The Government also aims to ensure that the distribution of grades follows a similar pattern to that of other years, so that this year’s students "do not face a systematic disadvantage as a consequence of these extraordinary circumstances."

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. 

We recognise that some students may nevertheless feel disappointed that they haven’t been able to sit their exams. If they do not believe the correct process has been followed in their case they will be able to appeal on that basis. In addition, if they do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam at the earliest reasonable opportunity, once schools are open again. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021."

There is a very wide range of vocational and technical qualifications, including BTEC, as well as other academic qualifications for which students were expecting to sit exams this summer. These are offered by a range of awarding organisations, and have differing assessment approaches – in many cases students will already have completed modules or non-exam assessment which could provide evidence to award a grade. The Government is encouraging these organisations to show the maximum possible flexibility and pragmatism to ensure students are not disadvantaged. Ofqual is working urgently with the sector to explore options and the Department of Education will work with them to provide more details as soon as possible.

Representatives of UCAS have also confirmed that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.

Finally, the Education Secretary noted that the Government will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for 2020.

Comments
Latest UAE articles
Society

School Uniforms: The Good, Bad and The Pricey!

At WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, we know that there are a couple of topics that will have UAE p…

Society

Thank you! Schools Praise Their 'Unsung Heroes'

Lifeguards, bus drivers, bus attendants, nurses, canteen staff, cleaners, security guards…

School Performance

Cognita Acquires Ranches Primary School

The acquisition by Cognita of Ranches Primary School follows that of Horizon English Sc…

Parenting

PCR for Worried Kids: Where, Why, How Much

Children and adults across the UAE can now count PCR testing as part of their regular hea…

Society

Part Time Jobs on Horizon for Dubai Teens

The UAE’s teenagers will soon be able to take on paid employment alongside their st…

Society

Parents Fume as Bus Journey Times Jump

Parents from a number of UAE schools have expressed frustration at the length of time the…

New Schools

New French School Opens in Meydan

Lycée Libanais Francophone Privé – Meydan has opened a new campus, …

Society

Back to School 2021: In Pictures!

After a long summer break, UAE schools have reopened for the 2021-22 academic year and in…

0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All