A-lev­els can be taken in au­tumn for bet­ter mark


STU­DENTS who are un­happy with teacher-as­sessed grades will be able to take the ‘full suite’ of GCSE, AS and A-level ex­ams in the au­tumn, Eng­land’s ex­ams reg­u­la­tor has con­firmed.

But grades from the au­tumn se­ries will be based on ex­ams alone, with no course­work ex­cept in art and de­sign qual­i­fi­ca­tions, Ofqual has said.

GCSE and A-level pupils will be awarded grades in Au­gust based on teacher as­sess­ment, af­ter sum­mer ex­ams were can­celled due to the coro­n­avirus crisis. Schools and col­leges have also been told to rank stu­dents within each grade for each sub­ject.

The au­tumn exam se­ries is for stu­dents who want to im­prove the grade they re­ceive, or for those who are unable to re­ceive a cal­cu­lated grade.

Fol­low­ing a con­sul­ta­tion, Ofqual has con­firmed that exam boards must make ex­ams avail­able in all the GCSE, AS and A-level qual­i­fi­ca­tions that they had planned to run in the sum­mer.

Head­teach­ers had warned that schools would strug­gle to host the full range of ex­ams for stu­dents un­happy with cal­cu­lated grades, while also co­or­di­nat­ing a wider re­turn to the class­room. It would be a ‘sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge’ to ac­com­mo­date ex­ams along­side faceto-face lessons.

Ofqual has also con­firmed that in­di­vid­ual pupils will not be al­lowed to chal­lenge teacher-as­sessed grades, or their position in the school or col­lege’s rank or­der. But a school or col­lege can ap­peal to the exam board if it be­lieves it made an er­ror when sub­mit­ting a grade or rank­ing, or be­lieves a board made a mis­take with a pupils’ grade.

The reg­u­la­tor said it ex­pected exam boards to in­ves­ti­gate ev­i­dence of ‘se­ri­ous mal­prac­tice’ raised by stu­dents who have con­cerns about bias or dis­crim­i­na­tion in their grades or rank­ing – though it ex­pects this to be ‘rare’.

Exam times will be con­firmed later but Ofqual ex­pects AS and A-lev­els will be in Oc­to­ber and GCSEs in Novem­ber.

Chief reg­u­la­tor Sally Col­lier said Ofqual will pro­vide ac­ces­si­ble in­for­ma­tion and a helpline to an­swer ques­tions about the sum­mer grades. She said: ‘We, and exam boards, are com­mit­ted to help­ing stu­dents and their fam­i­lies un­der­stand how to ac­cess an ap­peal or make a com­plaint about bias, dis­crim­i­na­tion, or an­other con­cern.’

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