UK schools have been closed since the coronavirus lockdown started in March, with all school exams for this year cancelled in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
At the time Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of this year's A Level students, “we will make sure their progress isn’t impeded and that in time they will get the qualifications needed”.
The Department of Education and Ofqual has since developed a new standardised method for students’ to be accurately assessed without exams.
As A Level results and grades are released, how have they been graded this year?
When is A level results day 2020?
This year’s A level results in England were published on the date they were originally expected to, Thursday 13 August 2020.
How will students be assessed?
The new system devised by the Department for Education, asks sixth form and college teachers, as well as heads of department, to award their students with a grade based on the work which had been submitted throughout the course of the student’s A Levels.
Teachers have been asked by Ofqual to do the following:
- Consider the student’s overall performance during the course of their study, including classwork, homework, coursework,and mock exams, as well as participation in performances and sporting events for relevant subjects.
- Consider the student’s previously achieved grades such GCSEs and AS-Levels.
This process is similar to how teachers make predicted grades that students use to apply for university with.
How will the grades be standardised across the country?
Teachers are also required to put their student’s grades in order, placing the highest attaining student in each grade boundary first on the list and ranking the lowest attaining student in that same grade boundary last.
This is in order to clarify to Ofqual the average cut off for each grade boundary and ‘statistically standardise’ the grade boundaries in line with the results given by teachers across the country.
Additionally, data from each school's previous A Level results will be taken into consideration when confirming the accuracy of the submitted grades.
If a teacher’s submitted grades are much more generous or severe than previous years, then this year’s grades will be adjusted where appropriate.
What if I don't agree with my given grade?
If you are unhappy with your grade and you believe it does not accurately reflect your abilities or work during the course of your A Levels, you can always participate in resit exams which are to take place this month, or August 2021.
This may be an attractive option to many students who want their grades to directly reflect their abilities in an exam as originally planned, before coronavirus prematurely ended the school year.
However, you are not able to appeal your grade purely on the grounds of disagreeing with your teacher’s submission.
Ofqual have announced that grade appeals are only considered for the following reasons:
- If a student has evidence of discrimination or malpractice, within their school or college.
- If your school/college thinks it has made an error in the grade submissions.
- If your school/college believes the exam board has made a mistake in moderating or communicating the grades to students.
In order to appeal to Ofqual you must ask the exams officer, your headteacher or principal to make an appeal on your behalf.
This appeal needs to be submitted within 15 days of getting the result of a review.