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Coronavirus: UK A-level and GCSE exam grades 2020

Information regarding grading, remarks and university applications during the 2020 coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak means that schools and colleges are closed, and no exams will take place in the summer of 2020.

This includes GCSEs, A-levels, SQA qualifications, IB, BTECs and all other qualifications. However, the government has confirmed that students will still receive their grades and be able to use them for university entry and other applications in the same way as in previous years.

The situation is changing and we will update this article as new information becomes available.

How will coronavirus affect GCSE and A-level exam grades in 2020?

Teachers will be responsible for grading. They will be asked to make a judgement about the grade each student would have achieved had the exams gone ahead as planned.  

Teachers will be asked to provide "a centre assessment grade for every student in each of their subjects: that is, the grade they would be most likely to have achieved if they had sat their exams and completed any non-exam assessment." (Ofqual)

"To make sure that grades are as fair as possible across schools and colleges, exam boards will put all centre assessment grades through a process of standardisation using a model being developed with Ofqual."

The impact of coronavirus on Pearson BTECs and other vocational qualifications

For all qualifications such as Pearson BTECs and Cambridge Technicals where the primary purpose is progression to further or higher education, the same process of teacher grading will apply. As Ofqual states: ' ... as far as possible, qualifications in this category should be treated in the same way as GCSEs, AS and A levels, with learners receiving a calculated result.'

For vocational qualifications where the purpose is to gain a specific occupational skill, Ofqual is asking awarding bodies 'to make changes to the way a qualification is assessed'. These changes would allow students to be assessed within the current guidelines.

The full information is here.

Private candidates

Where a private candidate has been entered at an exam centre and a teacher at the centre is aware of the quality of their work, they should be given a grade in the same way as other students. However, this is more difficult if a student has not been supervised. 

Ofqual "are urgently exploring whether there are alternative options for students who need results this summer to progress and for whom a centre assessment grade is not possible. It may, unfortunately, be necessary for some to take exams in the autumn or next summer to get their grades. We appreciate that this is a matter of real concern to private candidates and will provide an update as soon as possible."

Universities have been asked to be particularly flexible in the case of private candidates.

Exam results days 2020

These will now take place on the days originally planned. 

A level results day will be Thursday 13th August and GCSE results will be released on Thursday 20th August.

What about ‘remarks’?

There will be an opportunity to appeal calculated grades,but this is likely to focus only on the process used to determine the grade - there will be no review of work. An extra set of exams is also planned ‘as soon as possible’ in the autumn term. Then there is the option to sit exams again in 2021.

University places in 2020

Universities will need to be flexible but it’s anticipated that the current admissions process will remain largely in place. Offers already made will be honoured.

There is an extension to the deadline for replying to offers. Students should receive an email from UCAS explaining this.

For students who wish to sit some extra exams in the autumn term to reach the grades they need for their preferred course, most universities will be offering a delayed start time.

Should I be carrying on with work?

Students should follow the advice of their teachers but in general it is worth keeping up good study habits and trying to get ahead. For year 12 it’s important to avoid falling behind and losing momentum that will be difficult to pick up again when schools and colleges resume lessons. 

There should be more advice and support available through your teachers and/or your school’s website.

Here is the Ofqual news story in full. 
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020

Coronavirus guidelines

Advice for everyone on coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

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