Dear Parents and Students
A Level and GCSE – Awarding of Grades Summer 2020
I promised that once we knew more about the situation regarding the exam grading for the summer, we would pass on details as soon as we could. OFQUAL, the exam regulator, has issued the updated guidance today and I wanted to share what that means with you. Attached to this letter, I have included the official OFQUAL letter for students, we have also placed the guide for Parents/Students and Teachers on the school website. Guidance on the awarding of BTECS has not yet been issued.
As we had thought, the grades will be based primarily on Teacher Assessment. Our schools have been asked to rank students in each subject at GCSE and A Level with estimated grades, where we will indicate the most secure students in each grade down to the least secure. We will be using a variety of evidence in order to reach those judgements. I must emphasise that at no point will we be able to reveal to students or parents that rank order or the estimated grades.
Once submitted to the exam boards the grades will be processed through a moderation calculation that will include cohort prior performance (at KS4 for A Level and KS2 for GCSE) – not individual prior performance, along with prior school performance and what nationally expected outcomes were for this year. That will no doubt change the boundaries at which some of our assessments sit and the grades we submit will then be adjusted accordingly, either upwards or downwards. This is being done so that overall pass rates do not differ from previous years; remembering of course that we have a proportional exam grade awarding system, not one based on reaching a set standard. Any student who is not happy with their grades once issued, will of course have the ability to sit the exams in the Autumn, if they believe they would have done better in the exams.
In the coming weeks after Easter we will determine how each school will be making those judgements and what sources of evidence will be used. If we determine there is a need to retrieve work from students to aid us in making those judgements, we will inform you and arrange for it to be collected, sent to the relevant school or dropped off – depending on what circumstances allow. Again, we will work through such issues as and when needed, there is nothing to worry about currently in that regard. I know some of you will have questions regarding current work being completed and work after Easter. We will update you regarding this at the start of the new term as we reflect on the guidance issued today.
I would reassure you that the staff at our secondary schools know the students well and that the evidence we use will be far reaching and that the ranking and assessment will reflect the work students have put into their subjects.