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.’