How will exam grades be calculated this summer?

5th March 2021

Dear Parent/Carer,

RE: How will exam grades be calculated this summer?

I am sure you have heard the announcements in the media surrounding how GCSEs, A Levels and Vocational Qualifications will be awarded this summer.

We have now been informed that schools will award students’ grades this summer, although frustratingly the precise details about how we will do this have still not been released. We do know that the evidence we can use will range from mock exams, tests, work completed in class and at home, and optional question banks produced by the exam boards. It has also been stated that unlike last year, there will be no algorithm applied to students’ grades.

Ofqual (the organization that oversees the running of exams) have produced two useful ‘infographics’ that explain the processes. The infographic for GCSEs, AS and A Levels can be found via the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964613/Infographic_-_how_GCSEs__AS_and_A_levels_will_be_awarded_in_summer_2021.pdf

For students studying vocational courses, there is a different infographic, which you can find at this link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/964614/Infographic_-_how_vocational_and_technical_qualifications_will_be_awarded_in_2021.pdf

Please note that results days for A level exams is Tuesday August 10th and for GCSE exams is Thursday August 12th. Vocational exam results will be released no later than these dates.

Our number one priority with regards to this summer’s results is to ensure that all students receive the grades they deserve. We will do all we can to make sure this happens.

The Government have made very clear that they will moderate the process and check whether schools are awarding grades based upon evidence. The missing information though, is exactly what evidence schools will potentially need to provide and how they will provide it to justify the grade awarded. Also, should a student decide to appeal, what evidence will need to be sent off by schools to underpin why a certain grade was given. When more information is forthcoming we will share this with students and parents.

One thing is sure though: we are unable to award grades based upon ability alone, and need to ensure we have evidence to back up what we have awarded.

Despite these uncertainties there is a real positive here for students. Every piece of work completed between now and the submission of the predicted grade could also count towards deciding what that grade is: it’s not only the work already completed.

The best advice to all students is really simple:

  • Work as hard as you can
  • Provide as much evidence as you can to show your ability
  • Ask for help and support from your teachers: we all want you to achieve well!

If you were to liken completing a two or three year exam course to running a 40km marathon, we are now entering the final couple of kilometres. Students need to keep focused and make one final push to the finish.

It has been an extraordinary last year, but Bodmin College’s students have worked really hard, kept high morale and shown extraordinary adaptability to adjust to new ways of working. They really do deserve success and if we all keep working hard and focused I am sure that there will be lots of celebrations on results’ days in August.

Kindest regards

M Dixon

Dr Martin Dixon
Vice Principal