Please read the letter to students from all the Worcestershire headteachers.
On Wednesday 18th March, the Government announced that all GCSE, AS and A Level examinations and assessments will be cancelled this summer. This was to support the fight to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
On Friday 3rd April, Ofqual released further guidance as to how the GCSE, AS, vocational courses (BTECs, WJEC Tech awards, OCR Nationals and AQA Tech awards) and A Level grades will be awarded this summer. The guidance states that:
- Ofqual’s over-riding aim in awarding the grades is to be fair to students this summer and to make sure they are not disadvantaged in their progress to sixth form, college, university, apprenticeships, training or work because of these unprecedented conditions;
- for each GCSE and A Level subject, we will send the exam boards: a centre assessment grade for each student. This is the grade we believe each student was most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned; and the order of students, by performance, for each grade;
- The students will be issued a calculated grade. Ofqual and the exam boards will standardise the grades across schools and colleges, to make sure that, as far as possible, results are fair and that students are not advantaged or disadvantaged. They state that students’ individual performance will not be predetermined by their prior attainment at KS2 or GCSE. Please note that the final grade students get may be different from the centre assessment grade we send to the exam board;
- the grades awarded to students will have equal status to the grades awarded in other years and should be treated in this way by sixth forms, universities, colleges and employers; and
- Ofqual are focused on making sure students are not disadvantaged by these unprecedented circumstances including allowing for an appeal where appropriate. Students who feel that their grades from the summer do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the autumn series or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, both grades will stand.
- Calculated Grade Results will be released on the published results days. These are 13th August for A level and 20th August for GCSE.
You can download Ofqual's guidance for students here.
Procedure used for assigning centre assessment grades
The school considered a range of assessments for each student in determining their centre assessed grade: their classwork; their results in assessments and any mock exams; any non-exam assessment or coursework; and their general progress in each subject. Teachers will also apply their considerable experience of their subjects, examinations and the students they teach, when making decisions about the centre assessment grades. The centre assessment grades are not determined by a single teacher and have been subject to a stringent moderation process. The guidance document states that schools must be cautious in accepting any work submitted from Years 11 and 13 students after Friday 20th March when all schools were directed to close. As a school we took the decision not to set any additional formal assessments over the period of home learning in order to ensure fairness. The process the school followed in making the centre assessment grade decisions is outlined below:
|Stage 1||Subject leaders identified the pieces of assessment evidence which would be used to generate the centre assessment grades. This evidence was selected from assessments completed since the start of the Key Stage.|
|Stage 2||Subject leaders decided upon the weighting each piece of evidence would have in generating a final subject mark.|
|Stage 3||Subject leaders ranked the students.|
|Stage 4||Teachers assigned each student a centre assessment grade based upon the rank of the students, previous years grade boundaries and school grade distributions.|
|Stage 5||Departments met as a group, moderated and finalised every students’ grade and rank. Where there are small numbers in a department, teachers worked in collaboratively in the Multi Academy Trust.|
|Stage 6||Senior leaders checked every students’ grades for disparities and consistency in following the process.|
|Stage 7||Data is inputted and checked by a second party for clerical errors.|
|Stage 8||The Head of Centre checked the data for clerical errors and authorised.|
This year's grades have been calculated through a combination of centre assessment grades and the rank order of students by their expected performance provided by schools and colleges, and a model of national standardisation developed by Ofqual and the exam boards to make sure that all grades are fair and valid. You can find out more about this process by watching Ofqual's explainer video, or visiting their website.
Standardisation is the process used by Ofqual and the exam boards to make sure that the same standards are applied across different schools and colleges. The standardisation model will make sure grades are fair and that students are not advantaged or disadvantaged if their school or college was more generous or harsh when grades were put forward. The model will make sure that average grades across the country are not significantly higher or lower than previous or future years - if the spread of grades were significantly different this year, it would undermine their value.
We understand that this has been a time of great uncertainty and upheaval for our students and for parents/carers and we have striven to keep everyone informed about any changes which have affected students. Following the changes to how final examination grades would be awarded to student we have awaited further guidance from the Department for Education regarding appeals procedures, taking advice from all relevant external agencies. We can now confirm the following:
Students cannot appeal their grades directly to the examination boards, only examination centres can appeal final grades issued to the awarding examination board. Centres only have two grounds for appeal:
- If a clerical error was made either by the centre inputting the centre assessed grades or if the examination board made a clerical error in processing and awarding the final grade.
- If the student can show provide clear evidence that bias and discrimination took place in the award of the centre assessed grade.
Students cannot appeal their final grade on any other grounds such as they believe they would have achieved a higher grade in an examination, they achieved a higher grade in their mock examination, they were predicted to achieve a higher grade in their last report, or any other mitigating circumstances surrounding assessments.
If requested we will check for clerical errors but we do not believe there are any remaining clerical errors in the award of the GCSE and A level grades. Given the clear procedure we followed in awarding our centre assessed grades, which included a specific check for conscious and unconscious bias or discrimination, we do not believe that any student will be able to provide clear evidence that bias and discrimination has affected the award of the centre assessed grade. The centre assessed grades have already been checked, moderated and verified, so there is no one to appeal or review them.
If students wish to improve on their awarded grade we would advise that they sit the Autumn examination series which will run in October and November.
If you wish to make an appeal, please complete the appeal application form and send to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday 15 September 2020 (where university places are pending, we will submit applications as soon as possible following the release of the examination results).
Autumn Series 2020
JCQ have now confirmed the dates for the autumn examination series. These examinations are for students who wish to improve on the calculated grade issued by the examination board in the summer. Students are not required to make any payment for these examinations. Students can enter by completing the entry form below. We will update this page with further details as these are released by individual examination boards and provide a link to the required entry form.
The deadline for completing the required entry form will be 1 September for GCE / A level examinations and these examinations will take place between 5 – 23 October.
The deadline for completing the required entry form will be 11 September for GCSE examinations and these examinations will take place between 2 – 23 November.
- Summer results: Information for students (DfE)
- Summer 2020 GCSE, AS and A level, Extended project Qualification and Advance Extension Award in maths: Guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers.
- Ofqual message for all GCSE, AS and A level students this summer.
- National Careers Service: Post 16 options
- National Careers Service: Post 18 options
- JCQ decision tree: Useful advice on appeals, awarding grades and malpractice.
- Ofqual have published a fact sheet and film for schools and stakeholders which provides more detail about how GCSE, AS and A level grades will be standardised this summer.
- Guidance on understanding your qualifications grades this summer and the next steps.
- Appeal arrangements for AS, A levels and GCSEs
- Student guide to appeals and malpractice or maladministration complaints: summer 2020
The following documents are provided by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and should be read by all candidates before sitting any type of external examination.