GCE A-Level: Assessments

Department for Education written question – answered on 25th September 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of using UCAS predicted grades to determine the A-level results for external candidates who were unable to sit their exams in summer 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Ofqual and the exam boards explored the options for those students who did not have an existing relationship with an exam centre and who needed results this summer for progression purposes. The Joint Council for Qualifications published guidance which set out the options that would be available. The guidance can be found here: https://www.jcq.org.uk/jcq-publishes-supplementary-information-on-validation-of-evidence-by-centres-for-private-candidates/.

Ofqual and the Government asked organisations that represent higher and further education to consider the steps that they could take when making admissions decisions this summer for any external candidates who do not receive a grade. The Department have asked institutions to consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible.

Where schools and colleges had accepted entries from external candidates, those students should have been taken into account in the process of producing centre assessment grades, where the head teacher or principal was confident that they and their staff had seen sufficient evidence of the student’s achievement to make an objective judgement. In addition, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) predicted grades can be provided by schools, colleges and other further education providers, including for external candidates. Other external candidates, such as those who work with private tutors or self study, may not be able to receive a UCAS predicted grade.

To support students who are unhappy with their summer grade or for whom there was not enough evidence for a grade to be awarded, the Department is running an additional series of exams in the autumn. AS and A level exams will take place in October and GCSE exams in November, and will be available in all GCSE, AS and A level subjects.

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