Summer 2021 - Awarding grades



This information is for students and parents/carers.  It is based on the guidance we have received from the Department for Education and Ofqual, as well as on our plans so far. 

The school will receive more details from the Exam Boards shortly.  We will provide you with updates as and when we receive further information. 

If you have any questions then please check the FAQ section below.  If the answer is not there, then please let us know and we will try to help.

We will update and add to the FAQ section over the next few weeks.

At Garth Hill College…

  • Teachers will take into account students’ previous work. 
  • PPE results will help to inform, but not decide, the final grades.
  • And there will be opportunities for students to complete work to try to build upon their performance. For example, essays, past papers, internal tests etc.

Each subject will confirm assessments in advance, including whether any of the optional question papers, provided by the Exam Boards, will be used.

Teachers must submit the grades by 18 June.  So, we will confirm the deadline by when any work to be considered as evidence must be submitted to teachers.


Students’ Mindset – Be Positive

  • Adopt a positive mindset and a ‘can do’ attitude.
  • Build your vision - what are your targets and goals? 
  • Make a plan, work with your teachers and seek their advice and help.
  • Be honest with yourself about the effort you will need to put in!

What do you need to do develop your knowledge and skills and build upon your performance?

Remember that there is everything to play for and still time and the opportunity to show what you can achieve!


Making the Most of the Time Remaining

  • Teachers will already be preparing you for the remaining months.
  • Year 11 students should now be revising for PPEs: 

-  Week beginning 29 March: core subject PPEs

-  Week beginning 19 April: other subjects

  • Teachers will also shortly receive the exam board assessment materials. 
  • Your teacher will advise you on all the assessments, including any exam board assessments, and what you can do to prepare. 

Teachers will share with students in advance details of the lessons and topics along with the remaining assessment opportunities.

GCSEs, AS and A Levels

How will Students’ Grades be determined in 2021?

  • The grade awarded should reflect the standard at which the student is currently performing at.

The grade should not be based on the student’s potential, nor on what  they might have got if they took the exam.  There are no exams this year.

Teachers can draw on a range of evidence, but students should only be assessed on what they have been taught.


What evidence will schools use when awarding grades?

  • Completed students’ work that reflects the exam specification.
  • Non-exam assessment (coursework), even if only partially completed.
  • Students’ work in response to assessment materials provided by exam boards.
  • Records of progress and performance over the course of study.
  • In performance based subjects, such as music or drama, records of a student’s capability and performance over the course of study.

Work that reflects the exam specification would mean that it follows the format of exam board materials and is marked in line with exam board mark schemes.  This could include substantial classwork, internal tests or mock exams.


Can my teacher use my previous work as evidence in determining my grade? 

Yes, but schools should consider when the evidence was produced.  More recent evidence is likely to be more representative of student performance, although there may be exceptions.


Can I submit work that I produced at home? 

Work done at home can be included as evidence to support a teacher’s judgement if it cannot be produced in school because of the pandemic, but schools must be confident that the work produced is the student’s own and that the student has not been given inappropriate levels of support to complete it.


Are there still tiered entries for certain subjects?

Some tiered GCSEs specify content for higher tier students only, and in all qualifications, centres will need to provide accessible questions and tasks for lower attaining students and appropriately demanding questions and tasks for higher attaining students.

What are the considerations for Schools in determining  grades?

  • When the evidence was produced

-  More recent evidence is likely to be more representative of student performance, although there may be exceptions.

  • What students were asked to do -

-  …(schools) should aim to use consistent sources of evidence for a class or cohort that relate closely to the specification requirements.

  • How the evidence was produced -

-  Schools should be confident that the work produced is the student’s own and that the student has not been given inappropriate levels of support to complete it... 


What is the Ofqual Guidance on Evidence and Grades?

  • Whilst teachers will be in on-going discussions with students about the sources of evidence they might use to assess them – it is the teacher who has the final say in evidence selection.
  • Students will then have the opportunity to confirm the evidence is their own work and make their teachers aware of any mitigating circumstances they believe should be taken into account.
  • Whilst grades for previous work already completed may be known to students in some cases, Ofqual has advised that teachers must not tell a student their final grade.  Teachers have also been advised that, from now on, they should carefully consider the sharing of grades for on-going pieces of work. 


Will there be any Quality Assurance and Checking?

  • Schools will check that the correct processes have been followed.

- The exact timing of the checks is yet to be confirmed, but all checks must be completed by 18 June.

  • Exam Boards will also carry out checks on a sample of grades in schools.
  • The Boards will also checks on schools where results are out of line with expectations based on past performance, or if there are concerns raised.
  • Boards will not re-mark or re-grade, but will ask schools to investigate.  •Grades will only be changed if the Board is not satisfied with the investigation outcome or if malpractice is found.
  • The key factor is whether the grade awarded is a ‘reasonable exercise of academic judgement of the students’ demonstrated performance’.


What are the arrangements for results days?


GCE AS and A level, BTEC L3 and Cambridge Tech results will be released on Tuesday 10 August.

GCSE, VCert and BTEC L2 results will be will be released on Thursday 12 August.

Results will not be released to anyone other than to the student him/herself on results day.


Is there an appeals process?


Every student will have the right to appeal their grade.

  • Before submission, teachers should make students aware of evidence they are using to assess them.
    • Students will then have the opportunity to confirm the evidence is their own work and make their teachers aware of any mitigating circumstances they believe should be taken into account.
  • If student appeals, school should undertake an initial process review to check process followed correctly
    • If the school finds an error, a revised grade can be submitted to the exam board.
  • If student still wants to appeal, they can ask school to submit a formal appeal to the Board.
    • The Board will:
      • check school followed its own processes and exam board requirements and review the evidence used
      • provide a view as to whether the grade awarded was a reasonable exercise of academic judgement.
    • If the exam board finds the grade is not reasonable, they will determine the alternative grade.

Appeals are not likely to lead to adjustments in grades where the original grade is a reasonable exercise of academic judgement supported by the evidence.

Grades could go up or down.


Can I re-sit any of my examinations? 

There is a live consultation about public examinations in the Autumn Term 2021.  Please visit

You are able to express your views as part of the consultation process.


When will I receive my certificates?

We will notify you of the arrangements in the autumn.  We are intending to organise a certificate evening.


What about examinations in 2022?

No guidance has been issued yet about examinations in 2022.


Key Dates 

  • TBC - Deadline for handing in work to be considered as evidence is to be confirmed.  Expected to be towards the end of May.

  • June 18 - Grades submitted to Exam Boards

  • August 10 - A/AS Level Results 

  • August 12 - GCSE Results

  • TBC - Appeals Process

We expect to receive more information on the appeals process closer to the time.  All of this information will be published in advance of results day.


BTECs, Cambridge Technicals and Other Qualifications

How will BTEC Grades be determined in 2021?

BTEC pupils who are certificating this year will have their grades determined by a QTAG (Qualification-Level Teacher Assessed Grade). The grade will reflect the level the pupil is currently performing at. Teachers will not be providing teacher-assessed grades for individual units.


What evidence will be used to determine BTEC Grades?

Evidence will include any units pupils have already completed, including internally assessed work and external assessments (exams).

Teachers will also be able to draw on a range of other evidence including partially completed internal assessments, classwork or home learning assessments, recordings or mock (PPE) examinations.


What happens if I sat an exam for my BTEC in January?

We understand that pupils’ performance may have been compromised in light of the uncertainty and disruption. Teachers can use additional evidence to support the QTAG (Qualification-level Teacher Assessment Grade) that may better reflect your achievement in that unit.


What happens if I missed my exam in January, February or March?

Your teacher will be able to consider your achievement in the unit you studied through the overall QTAG (Qualification-level Teacher Assessment Grade).


How is the BTEC Programme of Study being adapted to take into account the disruption this year?

Pearson, the exam board, have provided the opportunity for subjects to adapt study programmes.  Each programme will approach this differently dependent on their situation and will communicate clearly with their students the schedule they will be following.


I am in Year 10 or Year 12 and am not certificating this year. What will happen with me?

Your teacher will be continuing your teaching, learning and assessment as normally as possible. In response to the disruption caused by the pandemic, your teacher may decide to reduce the units you study or reduce the assessment within a unit. They will clearly communicate this to you.