Summer Exams and COVID-19 – INFORMATION AND ADVICE

Following the Government’s announcement of the cancellation of the 2020 public examinations due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the exams regulatory body, Ofqual, in conjunction with the exam boards, developed a process for awarding GCSE, AS and A level, and vocational qualification grades this summer.   As part of this process, schools and colleges were asked to provide centre assessment grades for their students.

The following link provides some helpful information to the Ofqual guidance on awarding qualifications this Summer 2020.  Ofqual GCSE and A Level Consultation Outcomes and Autumn Exam Series Proposals

In addition, we have compiled answers to some key questions to help you with any queries you may have now or when the results are published in August.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who will receive results in August 2020?

All students who were entered for exams this Summer 2020 will be awarded grades in GCSE, AS and A Level, Extended Project and vocational qualifications. This includes Year 10 and 11 BTEC unit and overall grades, VCert Health and Fitness and for those completing a Cambridge Technical qualification.

These grades are calculated grades from a process which involved centre assessment grades and central standardisation. Ofqual has published information on this process how GCSE, AS, A level, vocational and technical qualifications will be graded and awarded in summer 2020.

Following the announcement from the Education Minister on 17 August 2020 this grade will be the highest of either the CAG (centre assessed grade) or the calculated grade (following central standardistion).

What is a centre assessment grade?

As part of the process for awarding grades this summer, Ofqual asked schools and colleges to provide centre assessment grades for their students.  Ofqual advised that these should be fair, objective and carefully considered judgements of the grades schools and colleges believed their students would have been most likely to achieve if they had sat their exams, and should take into account the full range of available evidence. 

In doing so, schools and colleges were required to follow a due process that involved:

  • Making a professional judgement based on a clear rationale and taking account of a range of existing evidence. In tiered subjects this reflected the tier of entry.  It also involved taking account of student access arrangements.
  • Carefully and objectively putting students in rank order.
  • Review by at least two members of staff at every stage of the process - ’check and double check’.
  • Each Head of Subject leading department staff in the moderation and ranking of grades.
  • Moderation of grades and ranking by the College’s leaders before submission.

Ofqual instructed schools and colleges that the centre assessment grades and rank order information was to be kept confidential and not to be disclosed.  Doing so would be considered centre malpractice.  This was to protect the integrity of the process.

What happened to the centre assessment grades submitted by schools?

After submission of centre assessment grades and rank order information by schools and colleges, exam boards then applied a standardisation process as set out by Ofqual. Centre assessed grades were compared against:

  • Historical data (past results) for each school and college. This means the board will compare the submitted centre assessment grades to the actual grades awarded to that school’s candidates in 2017, 2018 and 2019 for A level and, for GCSE, in those years in which the exams have been graded 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and so on.
  • prior attainment information for students in the cohort and any changes in the year-on-year student entry profile.
  • national outcomes for each subject in previous years.

Following the announcement from the Education Minister on 17 August 2020 the grade awarded will be the highest of either the CAG (centre assessed grade) or the calculated grade (following central standardistion).

What are the arrangements for results days?

Due to the continued Covid-19 restrictions, examination results this year will be issued electronically.  They will be emailed to students’ Garth Hill College email account only.  Therefore, students need to be able to access their school email account and must make sure that they are able to log into their school email address remotely via webmail prior to their results day.

Students can access their Garth Hill email from website home page https://www.garthhillcollege.com/ by selecting Webmail. This will then redirect them to login and will launch Outlook and their school email account.  Any login issues should be addressed to helpdesk@garthhillcollege.com

GCE AS and A level, BTEC L3 and Cambridge Tech results will be emailed to students by 9:30am on Thursday 13 August.

GCSE, VCert and BTEC L2 results will be emailed to students by 9.30am on Thursday 20 August.

If you (student/pupil) have not received your email by 9:30am please contact exams immediately at exams@garthhillcollege.com to arrange an alternative delivery.

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

How can I get advice and support on results day?

On results day, the College will provide a support service to students who have any queries or need advice on the next steps that are available.  We advise students to check the available advice and information first, including FAQs, before making an appointment.  Garth Hill College staff will be available as follows:

Face to face:  There will be a limited number of appointments which can be made for a face-to-face consultation in college on results day.  These will be bookable using this link through the parents’ evening system from 8:30am on results day.

Video call:  Consultation will also be available live online.  Appointments can be booked through the parents’ evening system from 8:30am on results day through this link for appointments later in the day or on Friday 21 August.

Email: Contact GH6@garthhillcollege.com if you have any queries regarding Garth Hill College Sixth Form (GH6).

Telephone call: If you would like to speak to a member of staff please email t-burge@garthhillcollege.com with details of your enquiry and preferred contact number and we will arrange a call from the most appropriate member of staff.

If you have any other queries about results please email t-burge@garthhillcollege.com 

Students will be able to re-sit exams in any subject they were originally entered for. If you would like to do this please see the information in ‘Can I re-sit any of my examinations?’ 

The National Careers Service Exam Results Helpline  offers advice each year for students who have not received the results they had hoped for.

Is there an appeals process?

There are changes to the appeals process for the summer 2020 examinations.  There can be no review of the marking process as there are no scripts to be reviewed.  As a result, Ofqual consulted on an appeals process for calculated grades - Appealing calculated grades. They have also produced a useful student guide.

Students should normally raise a complaint with their centre in the first instance, if they have evidence of bias or that they were discriminated against.

Schools are able to appeal only where they believe that an error was made in submitting information; or similarly, if the centre believes an exam board has made a mistake when calculating, assigning or communicating a grade.

You can re-sit exams in any of your subjects - please see the information in ‘Can I re-sit any of my examinations?’ 

Can I re-sit any of my examinations? 

There will be public examinations in the Autumn Term 2020.  Students will be able to re-sit exams in any subject they were originally entered for in the Autumn 2020 examination series.  In that event, both grades would stand and a new certificate issued for the grade attained in the Autumn.  

If you would like to re-sit exams in any of your subjects, please read and complete the relevant form

For A/AS Level  this form

For GCSE this form.

Ofqual has published information about the autumn 2020 exam series:

  • Exam boards will offer a full suite of exams.
  • Grades will be awarded based on exam results only, apart from in Art and Design.
  • Dates of the exam series are confirmed as follows:  
    • AS and A-levels from Monday 5 October to Friday 23 October
    • GCSEs from Monday 2 November to Monday 23 November
  • The exam boards will post the detailed timetables on their websites.

BTEC Learners will be able to sit/resit the external assessment in the next available window: 

  • BTEC Level 1/2 Firsts - on-demand, Jan 2021, or May/June 2021 (depending on sector/unit) 
  • BTEC Level 1/2 Tech Awards - February 2021, or May/June 2021 (depending on sector/unit) 
  • BTEC Level 2 and 3 Technicals - on-demand, March, or May/June 2021 (depending on sector/unit) 
  • BTEC Level 3 Nationals - Jan 2021 or May/June 2021 (depending on sector/unit) 

When will I receive my certificates?

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

If you decide to re-sit any exam in the Autumn Term, you will be issued a second certificate with your new grade.  If you wish to replace your original statement with your new grade, this can be arranged upon request.  Please contact exams@garthhillcollege.com to arrange.

What about examinations in 2021?

Ofqual has set out proposals for the exams in summer 2021.  These proposals include:

  • Adaptations to free up teaching time, such as:
    • no need to record the spoken language assessment in GCSE English Language
    • allowing GCSE students to observe (rather than undertake) science practicals
    • assessing art and design students on their portfolio alone.
  • No assessment of fieldwork in GCSE Geography
  • A choice of topics in GCSE History exams, with one mandatory unit
  • Changes to the exam timetable, with GCSEs possibly starting after half term on 7 June 2021.
    • Ofqual is considering whether this might be appropriate for AS and A Levels as well.
  • Adaptations to allow for any future public health measures, including:
    • changes to performance rules in GCSE and A-level Drama and Dance
    • relaxing the fieldwork requirement in A-level Geography.

Ofqual has published guiding principles which will determine the approach to technical and vocational qualifications. Further details on arrangements for 2021 are to be confirmed.

Useful Links – Further Guidance from Exam Boards

AQA - Coronavirus and summer 2020 exams 

OCR - Supporting you during coronavirus

Pearson - Supporting our customers during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

WJEC - Supporting teachers & learners during Coronavirus

NCFE - Coronavirus – information and advice for customers and learners