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How have grades been awarded to students in Summer 2020?

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The cancellation of national and international examinations globally is a completely unprecedented situation and this decision was taken by examination boards in March 2020 to protect life due to the Covid 19 Global pandemic.

The regulated processes that exam boards have put in place since to award grades to pupils have been undertaken to ensure that pupils do not face disadvantage as a result of these extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances.

In Summer 2020 pupils will,as usual, be awarded grades by exam boards. These will be evidence based grades reflecting how pupils would have performed if they had been able to complete external examinations as normal.

Subject grades will be awarded by exam boards based on teacher assessment grades (Centre Assessment Grades). The processes, that were developed by exam boards, were set up to support the awarding of grades that would reflect how pupils would have performed if they had completed examinations as usual during Summer 2020.

In May schools, as examination centres, were required to submit evidence-based teacher assessment grades (Centre Assessment Grades) for each pupil to exam boards. There is a range of evidence that schools would have used to support this process but it is likely to have included the following:

  • coursework that would normally be submitted to exam boards as part assessment
  • the full range of evidence that schools collect on individual’s performance in a subject based on ongoing teacher assessment that is part of the normal teaching/learning process
  • previous performance in externally assessed exams
  • mock exam results
  • pupil responses to practice exam questions

Awarding Bodies have confirmed that these results will carry the same weight as in other years and should be treated the same by employers, colleges and universities. For example, A Level/ Level 3 qualifications will carry the same number of UCAS points as in previous years.

All exam boards have indicated that certificates for Summer 2020 will be the same as all other years as the process followed by these Awarding Bodies has been rigorous, fair and in line with exam board regulation requirements.

The processes used to award grades this Summer have been changed recently to place a greater focus on Centre Assessment Grades and remove the use of mathematical algorithms in awarding grades to individual students. This decision was made by all national and international Awarding Bodies in the last week to make the grades a fairer reflection of individuals performance.

For those students who have already received calculated grades from exam boards for some qualifications (such as A Level, I A Level and IGCSE) new grades will be released by awarding bodies in due course, but this will be the highest grade from either the Centre Assessment Grade or the Calculated Grade students have already received. This may take a bit of time to do, as these changes were made in the last few days, but schools will continue to work with students so they have accurate sets of grades to support discussions on next steps.

What if I am unhappy with the grades I have been awarded by the exam board?

As Year 11 and 13 students did not sit exams this year the usual appeals process involving an administrative check or a remark is not possible. In light of very recent changes to the awarding of grades by all national and international examination boards, schools as exam centres are awaiting further details from Awarding Bodies regarding updated formal appeals processes.

In any grade appeal process, grades can go down as well as up and the grade determined through the appeal process will be the one awarded to the pupil.

If on receiving their grades from schools, Year 11 or 13 pupils are unsure about how this grade was awarded, in the first instance they should discuss this with school staff . The school can check that the centre assessment grade is as it should be and there has not been an administrative or calculation error. At this stage the pupil and their parent/carer can also be provided with further information on how the centre assessment grade was arrived at.

Please note that some parts of this process may not be possible until all teaching staff return to school at the start of term.

When exam boards do publish updated appeals processes there will be a charge for this service and the process used is likely to vary from exam board to exam board. Once they have this updated information, schools as exam centres will be able to provide specific advice and guidance to individual students about appeals.

When would my next assessment opportunity be if I am unhappy with my results?

You may be able to resit some subjects in Autumn this year. WJEC (with the exception of Maths GCSE) and SQA are not offering an Autumn exam series. There will be a charge for these exams as they are regarded as ‘resits’ as learners will have been awarded a qualification grade. Schools will be able to provide specific advice and guidance on resits to individual students.


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Exam Results: Dealing with Disappointment


“I failed in some subjects in exams, but my friend passed them all… now he is an engineer at Microsoft and I am the owner of Microsoft”

(Bill Gates)

Exam results day can be a stressful time for everyone involved, young people, parents and teachers. It can be particularly difficult for those who have not done as well as they had hoped. The importance of exam results at this time, can often be overly emphasised. Sometimes this is a strategy used to motivate students to do well. It is true that having good qualifications will “open doors” and provide a clear pathway to university, although it is not the only route that young people might choose. Exam results tend to become less important as individuals leave school. There are many alternative routes for securing a career.

Understanding more about how you manage and develop your emotions and respond to disappointment can be helpful for your mental health and also make you a better learner. Here is some further information:

How do you understand and respond to failure?

“Failure is so important. We talk about success all the time, but it is the ability to resist or use failure that often leads to greater success.”

(J.K Rowling)

How you think about and react to disappointment can impact on your mental health. It can stop you from pushing yourself and trying again in the future. Understanding your thinking and the importance of experiencing disappointment can promote positive mental health. There are two types of “mindsets” that can influence your thoughts, feelings and behaviour:

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Thinking about thinking

It is important to be aware of the relationship between our thoughts, feelings and behaviour. How we think about a situation, can strongly influence how we feel and how we behave.



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When you encounter disappointment, you can often experience negative thoughts racing around your mind. Often negative thoughts can be generalised and make you view yourself and other areas of your life in a negative way. Here are some tips for spotting negative thoughts when you haven’t performed as well as you had hoped:


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Services & Support

School

Schools are well placed to support students who are disappointed with their results and worried about how this will impact on their options. School staff are available to support students during the results period. Speak with your tutor, head of year or pastoral support team, who will ensure you receive the right support and clarify the options available to you.

On My Mind

Details self-care strategies to help children and young people manage their wellbeing

· https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/

The Isle of Man E-Counselling Service

· Kooth - (11-17 years) offers mental health services for young people experiencing low level anxiety, stress and depression. https://kooth.com/

Further Reading

The following material provides further helpful support and guidance.

Practical advice

· https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/exam-results-stress-advice-for-young-people/

· https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/dealing-with-disappointing-exam-results/

Advice for parents

· Anna Freud Centre for Children & Young People - Exam Stress

o https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOZdqFFxfAU&list=PLaZguIPxZjqYUTAy-jh25YWz5HnipHBPw&index=19

· https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/exam-results-stress-advice-for-parents/

Further reading

· The power of believing that you can improve - https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve

· Failure and Growth Mindset - https://vimeo.com/178681594

· https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-21/edition-12/examination-stress-and-test-anxiety