This is when students could sit A-level and GCSE exams following lockdown

New proposals by the Government include a potential timescale for when students could sit A-level and GCSE exams following the coronavirus lockdown.

Friday, 22nd May 2020, 4:59 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd May 2020, 5:00 pm

Students could sit A-level exams in October and GCSEs in November if they are unhappy with their summer results, under proposals published by the Government.

Exact dates have not been released because of the continued uncertainty around the full reopening of schools and colleges, exams regulator Ofqual said.

Following the closure of schools in March, the Department for Education said pupils in England would be awarded calculated grades based on teacher assessment.

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Ofqual has now confirmed that grades will be standardised taking account of the expected national outcomes for this year's students, prior attainment of student cohorts and previous results of the school or college.

The autumn exams would be for students who want to try and improve the grade they receive this summer, and for those who are unable to receive a calculated grade.

A decision on when the exams will take place will be informed by advice from Government, exam boards and groups representing schools, colleges, teachers and students, Ofqual added.

In proposals published on Friday, it said: "Given the current uncertainty about when schools and colleges will reopen we are not consulting on the exact dates when the exams should take place.

"However, for the exams to best serve their intended purpose we envisage that, if possible, AS and A-level exams should take place in October and GCSE exams in November."

Ofqual said it was not possible to provide teachers with national training on making standardised judgements, because of how quickly arrangements had to be made, and therefore some adjustment to grades is "highly likely".

It said: "Such adjustments are in the interests of fairness to all students because they will ensure, as far as possible, that individual centres have not been too severe or too generous in comparison with other centres."

Ofqual said its proposals to award calculated grades were supported by 82% of the 12,623 respondents to it consultation.

Sally Collier, chief regulator at Ofqual, said: "In the unprecedented circumstances we face this summer, these exceptional arrangements are the fairest way of making sure students have the grades they need in time to progress to further study or employment."

A-level pupils will get their results on August 13 and GCSE students will be given their grades on August 20.

Ofqual is now consulting, until June 8, on its proposals on the arrangements for the additional autumn exams.

Bill Watkin, chief executive of the Sixth Form Colleges Association, said while Ofqual had "set out the fairest possible way" to award grades after exams had to be cancelled, there will still be "winners and losers this year because no one system can meet the needs of every centre and every young person".

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, raised concerns about "the practicalities for schools and colleges in hosting a full exam series in the autumn, on top of everything else they will have to do as a result of the current crisis".

University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady said she remained concerned around a possible negative impact on disadvantaged students.

She said: "We are disappointed that more has not been done to recognise the impact that these changes will have on disadvantaged students. Without action, these groups are likely to be even more underrepresented."

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