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Exams regulator issues guidance for schools and colleges on how to grade students

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Wednesday 08 April 2020

Schools and colleges are being asked to provide a grade for each A-Level and GCSE student, in guidance published by exams regulator Ofqual about how to address the cancellation of examinations for the summer of 2020.

The guidance aims to judge the grade each student is most likely to have achieved if they had sat their exams, and will be based on evidence held by schools and colleges and reviewed by subject teachers and heads of department. Schools and colleges will also have to provide a rank order of students within each grade to support Ofqual's approach to awarding final grades to individuals and to ensure that the overall distribution of grades follows a similar profile to previous years.

Bailiwick schools and colleges will follow these same guidelines for GCSE and A-Level students. Similar principles are being applied for international examinations but there are some differences in detail, all of which will be rigorously applied by our schools.

Ofqual said judgments must be objective and based only on evidence of student performance, including measures such as classwork, bookwork, AS-levels (for A-level pupils who took an AS), homework assessments and mock exams.

Exam boards will be instructed to use a statistical model being developed by Ofqual to standardise grades across each subject.

While this process does not apply to general, technical and vocational qualifications, Ofqual said the same aims would apply and it committed to developing an approach for those qualifications as soon as possible.

Parents and carers of children who are routinely home educated and who were due to sit GCSE exams this summer are asked to discuss the best way forward with the high school where their child was due to sit their exams.

Deputy Matt Fallaize, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said:

'While this situation is less than ideal, and we must do everything possible to support our students affected by these unavoidable circumstances, we now at least have more clarity about the process everyone entered into these exams will go through. These are unprecedented times and students who have been preparing for these exams must be reassured that this process will be objective, fair and will not result in them losing out. To this end I was pleased to see that the exams regulator confirmed an appropriate appeals mechanism will be put in place with students having the opportunity to sit exams at the earliest reasonable opportunity in the new academic year if they wish. It is also important to understand that, while our schools will have to supply evidence to Ofqual, it is Ofqual that will make the final decision on grades.

'Some Bailiwick students in Year 11 have already achieved GCSE grades because they took exams early. Some of these students may be happy with their results and these students cannot have their grades taken away. Other students may have wanted to sit the exams again this summer and we need to do further work to establish what processes Ofqual are putting in place for such students to be re-entered for exams.'

If parents with children who were due to take GCSE or A-Level exams this summer have further questions, they should contact their child's head teacher in the first instance.

For the full Ofqual announcement please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020

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