DfE reveals how it will provide grades for A-level and GCSE students this summer

The government has confirmed it will use teacher assessments to provide calculated grades for students this year.

The aim is to provide grades to learners before the end of July. They will be “indistinguishable from those provided in other years”, and students will have a chance to resit an exam if they don’t think the grade is fair.

On Friday, officials published further details of how it will replace GCSEs and A-levels this summer after exams were scrapped amid the coronavirus outbreak.

It states exam boards will “ask teachers to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead”.

This is an opportunity to at least point the way to a less brutal system.

Teachers should consider evidence including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment.

Ofqual said “clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly this will be provided to schools and colleges”.

“The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.”

Ofqual and exam boards “will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible. More information will be provided as soon as possible.”

Ofqual said it will also “aim to ensure that the distribution of grades follows a similar pattern to that in other years, so that this year’s students do not face a systematic disadvantage as a consequence of these extraordinary circumstances.”

If pupils “do not believe the correct process has been followed” then they can appeal.

If they don’t feel their calculated grade reflects their performance pupils can also resit an exam “at the earliest reasonable opportunity, once schools are open again. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.”

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Cancelling exams is something no education secretary would ever want to do, however these are extraordinary times and this measure is a vital but unprecedented step in the country’s efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“My priority now is to ensure no young person faces a barrier when it comes to moving onto the next stage of their lives – whether that’s further or higher education, an apprenticeship or a job.

“I have asked exam boards to work closely with the teachers who know their pupils best to ensure their hard work and dedication is rewarded and fairly recognised.”

However Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the details leave “many questions unanswered”.

But he said teachers are the “experts in their subjects, they know these qualifications inside out, they know their students, and they have the professional skills to assess them accurately.

“We do not subscribe to the notion that exams are the only credible way of assessing qualifications, and this is an opportunity to at least point the way to a less brutal system.”

An Ofqual spokesperson said: “We are working tirelessly to support students affected by these unprecedented and difficult circumstances and to develop, quickly, a fair and consistent process. We know that schools and colleges urgently need to know what they will need to do, and when.”

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  1. Richard


    How will level three qualifications such as UAL Media courses be graded? Students would normally be assessed on the final unit each year however they are inherently practical / equipment reliant subjects.

    Here is the course page and spec:

    The final (graded) units will have either just started or begin after the Easter break. I understand that the majority of learners do A-level exams but there has been no mention of UAL / BTEC courses as far as I know.



  2. Luke Terry

    Hi ,
    just wondering how older students who have been having private tuition who was meant to be sitting exams will their grades be calculated the same as school children ?

    Thank you.

    • Gemma Appleby

      Hi, did you receive a reply, I have a home educated daughter who is due to sit GCSEs this year and has studied intensely for two year to do so. We are now worried this will all be for nothing and she will not get her college place this year.
      Please email me at gem.appleby@gmail.com if you or any readers have any further information. Thanks so much

  3. N.Koser

    This is fantastic however we are missing information about HE students especially students in their final year of undergraduate courses. Dissertations require an incredible amount of determination encompassing and showcasing a collection of skillsome gathered over a number of years of study. Surely just the amount of cost which they incur must be considered before we ask them to continue with end of course assessments without any consideration of the anxiety and stresses in the current pandemic.

  4. Colette

    BTEC coursework/assignments not begun or finished, are students expected to complete these at home. Pearson not clear and their delay isn’t helpful to mental well-being.

    • Exactly, are we honestly expected to carry on with assignments like nothing has happened, we still have many assignments due this year most of which we haven’t been taught yet. It’s ridiculous, why can’t they just give us our projected grade.

    • Oliver Grant

      My BTEC course tutor tells everybody to work from home. Not everybody (including me) has the facilities to do that for reasons such as an inconsistent e-learning platform, caring for others in this time of need and needing to complete other essential jobs. It’s ridiculous we’re expected to do that and should just be given our predicted grades, or at least some grade based off of our progress throughout the year.

  5. Helen Standing

    For Computer Studies GCSE where the course is new to the teachers after the national changes to ICT, the new syllabus having only been taught as it is now for two years and having problems in the exams for last yrs students, will the teachers be given additional help?

  6. What about external students who have done brilliant in their Mocks when they attended college but didn’t do well in their actual exam in 2019 and were going to resit this year

    • Sadia Miah

      This summer I was going to retake Gces maths as an external student at my local exam centre so how would I be awarded with a grade as I don’t have a teacher who will provide me with a grade based on assessment

  7. My daughter was supposed to sit her GCSE this year. Her results from key stage 2 was poor and the last 4 years she has not concentrated in school. But as it was her final year she pulled her socks up gave it her best in school and tutoring classes. The changes can be seen that what she could have actually achieved in her exams. How will she be assessed because her predicted grades are also poor.

  8. Mehzabin

    What about the private students? How are their grades going to be calculated? If they have to sit for mocks in British Council then for me i don’t think it’d be a wise decision at this time, at this current life-threatening situation. I think it’d be much better if some private teachers/tutors take the mocks and send the british council our grades. Nonetheless, being a private candidate and the recent situation has got us all worrying. Will be waiting eagerly for your response.

  9. Elizabeth Kiely

    What about university students in their final year. My daughter now back from uni as its closed would have sat her final year exams in May/June this year
    She has not been given any clear guidelines from university as to what will happen. Only that there will be no graduation services this year. She successfully secured job from September dependent on her degree. What will happen now

  10. Btec student left squandering in the dark…. doing vague systems of remote learning …. what is happening to them … especially as all their peers now have no school work and are a big social media distraction

  11. Kshitij

    I am writing my spanish igcse this year and I 100% sure that I will not get the grade I desire and the grade I believe I deserve cause this year I only focused on spanish unfortunately I will be graded according my mocks and etc but I have drastically improved and I believe if I am suppose to get 90% as my spanish igcse because of the corona virus deep down I know I could have gotten a 96% so please help me find a solution and I want to write my spanish igcse

  12. felicity

    I’ve contacted the government and my private college but they both have no answers. I am a private candidate and I’m only retaking a few exams from last year I’ve already paid for my exams. I have no teachers I haven’t done any mocks I’ve just been revising at home on my own. What’s going to happen to people like me what grades would they use?

    • The exam board Ofal regulate individual exams and so they are exploring options on how to grade private students.

      Look at gov.uk web page about exams and keep scrolling through the questions until you see the start of the questions talking about private candidates

  13. Shailaja S

    What about private students. No one is bother to let them know. As they are already anxious and stressed up to get the required grades. Some of them take it as a challenge to get the grades to get them into their desired universities. Govt. Is still not have taken the decision on them. They dont even consider them as students any more to let them know? There families are more stressed as their children wasted years to get it. Please can Govt. Soon take the decision.

    • Sehrish Ashraf

      Most of the population of students do not do so well during there mocks because no body really shows there hard work and dedication however some people cannot enter the sixth forms they want to go to because the entry requirements are still the same but our mock results are low. Some students would not want to resist the exams so late because they need to start school in September.

  14. This isn’t fair, for btec pupils have been subjected to doing the assignments at home without proper education and guidance on what to do, this in fact will affect the outcome of the quality of work that is produced and can sabotage a students potential of gaining a potentially good grade if they were to have the access to the right teaching, which they are unable to do so from home. This should also apply to the btec students as doing an assignment without the correct teaching guidance is like learning a football skill without a football, the essential part for a good outcome is not there and this will indeed affect a lot of pupils grades and mental states as it will prove to stress a lot of individuals due to the lack of access to the right resources they need in order to complete their work to their own personal standard.

  15. I’m a private confidante, retaking my sciences. I have paid for them at my school and I really don’t knows what’s going to happen now! It’s my last chance to do well in them other wise, my college will not let me take these subjects as an Alevel. What am I supposed to do?

  16. Jungkook

    What will happen to the year 10`s who were meant to sit real GCSE exams this year? Will they have to retake the exams next year even though we have been working so hard for this whole year or will we be given predicted grades?

  17. My daughter is predicated a 5 in maths but got a 4 in her mock exams and the teacher doesn’t know her very well she moved to this school end of last year , what GCSE grade is she likely to get ?

  18. Ho today ofqual released a statement regarding exams GCSE and A levels grading but 6could not understand what they stated about private candidates who already having a degree and just want to sit for GCse maths and English for training etc.. please if someone understands or knows share on this website.. thanks

  19. Isaac

    It isn’t fair for people that are doing functional skills maths too they grades should be predicted it isn’t fair that we are expected to do exams level 2 functional skills is equivalent to GCSE so why do we have to Sit exams.

  20. Pleaae if anybody understood and knew about today’s ofqual announcement for private candidates (adults with self study) explain it here for ne as I could not understand what they stated..thank you

  21. Desy Mixy

    I am currently re sitting maths and I need to pass to get into university and now that the exams are cancelled it’s confused me a lot because what will happen with the prediction of my maths grade. I sat the exam last year and I was 2 marks away this year the prediction that went to UCAS was a 4 but my teacher said to me that I should keep studying if i have to sit the exam in autumn and I want to know if for some reason I am not given a pass would I still be able to get into University if I think the grade i’ve been given is unfair and want to re sit in autumn?

  22. As I know the igcse students have options which include evidence-based grading and postpone to Nov term. There is no promise that the pupils can surely sit exam in Nov because no one can predict what this covid-19 will end. If is postpone again in Nov, it might result the waste of time for the students. They may have future targets. On the other hand, students who accept evidence-based grading may not have much worry but they will not get the actual results that they deserve. Their reputation might low when comparing with other students. This situation is faced by many students and I hope there might some solutions for this.

  23. Pip Nall

    My daughter was due to resit AQA GCSE BIOLOGY at her former secondary school. This was due to an acknowledged error by the school in not changing her exam every tier when they had concluded she confirmed that they would. They offered her a free resit but without any teacher or revision support. They confirmed that they could and would submit a centre assessed grade and rank order for her, as have access to all her data and she was known throughout her course of study. Then changed their minds and attempted to close down communication. They claim that they cannot confidently submit a rank order for her alongside current year 11 cohort because she did not sit exactly the same NEA checkpoints and mocks so was not assessed using identical data set. This choice is damaging her future and disadvantaging her. What role does the DFE have here as appears that they can get away with both choices without redress?


    I think the private candidates who already pass their AS/LEVEL in any year and registered for compost examination of AS/LEVEL AND A/LEVEL for summer 2020 should be graded the same grade as he got in his AS/LEVEL however,the student who work hard throughout one or two years and well prepare himself for summer examination 2020 may be appeal and allowed him to resit in next examination or depute some school or BR ITCH COUNCIL of his country to assess him and give him appropriate grade for this extra work student may be paid extra fee to school for assessment


    Another option is a student who pass his O/Level and AS/Level examination after 2015 or in any year his previous grades on any subject or as whole may be combined and give him the same grade, being private candidates for compost As/level and A/Level for May/June examination 2020 however,the candidates who wish to appeal and allowed him to resit in next examination or depute some school or BR ITCH COUNCIL of his country to reassess him and give him appropriate grade, for this extra work student may be pay extra fee to school for reassessment but that fee should be fixed by CAMBRIDGE or without extra fee as consider appropriate by the CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY