Over the last few months, schooling has been disrupted for almost every child.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that many kids have been out of school since the end of March – with most now not set to go back until September.
The lockdown has seen parents juggling working from home with homeschooling, alongside all of the stress and health anxiety surrounding the outbreak of the virus. Pair that with the inability to access childcare during the lockdown, and there’s no doubt that it’s been a hectic time for families.
And, one thing most young students have also been unable to do during the pandemic is sitting their AS and A Level and GCSE exams.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson mandated earlier this year that instead of actually sitting these summer exams, pupils will instead receive a “calculated grade”, which will be “the grade they would be most likely to have achieved had exams gone ahead”.
So when will families find out these results?
When do A Level results come out?
A Level and AS Level results, for Year 12 and 13 students, will come out on Thursday 13th August 2020. The date has been set to allow students to progress to higher and further education on time, in September, if they wish to, which is when many universities begin their autumn term.
The government has also announced that students will be able to take exams in autumn if they wish to – with the August results date allowing them time to prepare for this if they need to.
It has been revealed that the ‘calculated grades’ students will receive will be generated via statistical modelling, rather than teacher’s predicted grades. The model, created by exams regulator Ofqual, will reportedly take into account pupils’ previous achievements in tests, results of previous student year groups at the same school, and the predicted grades teachers submitted back in March.
Some experts have stated that if a pupil doesn’t get their preferred grades for university, there is more scope than ever this year to ‘haggle’ your way into higher education, due to the calculated grading system.
Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute thinktank, told The Guardian, “The way they are grading A-levels this year gives [young people] much more room to negotiate. You can easily ring and make a case for being let in based on your grades being wrong.”
When do GCSE results come out?
GCSE results for students in Years 10 and 11 will come out a week later than A Level results – on Thursday 20th August, which is the date that was always planned for results prior to Covid-19.
GCSE results normally determine which subjects a student is able to take for A Level, if they wish to stay on for sixth form.
But this year, Ofqual is calling for ‘greater flexibility’ when it comes to permitting students to stay on for A Level, if they have not quite achieved the required grades this year.
A letter from the chief regulator, Sally Collier, sent to schools and colleges, has reportedly asked teachers to look at “other robust evidence” aside from the calculated grades young people will be given, especially if, “you already know a student and their potential well”.
She continued, “You may wish to consider the approach you take for certain students, given they did not have the opportunity to sit exams and other assessment.”
What can you do if your child is not happy with their calculated grade?
Exam retakes are normally straightforward, but this year things are a little different. If you and your child do not feel that their calculated grade properly reflects their ability, or what they would have got had they sat their exam, there will be a chance to actually complete the exam they missed, in the autumn.
Students can take their AS and A Level exams in October, and GCSE exams in November. The government’s aim is for A Level results to then be back before Christmas, with universities aiming for flexibility with admissions.