Important information: GCSE examination grades
Dear Year 11 Pupils and their Parents/Carers
I am writing to you once again as we have received some further guidance today regarding the awarding of your GCSE examination grades. I felt that it was important to you to provide you with a summary of this process, as I know that many of you may have some questions about this.
What do we know so far?
We were informed on March 18th 2020 that GCSE examinations will be cancelled in response to schools having to shut due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Today, we have received advice that we as a school are being asked to use our professional experience to make a fair and objective judgement of the grade that we believe you would have achieved if you had sat your exams this year as normal. These grades are called the ‘centre assessed grades’.
How will you arrive at the centre assessed grades?
In order to arrive at this grade, we will be using a range of evidence that we have available to us. This will include, but is not limited to, non-exam assessment (NEA), mock examinations, assignments that you have completed etc. You will not therefore be disadvantaged if you have not yet completed an NEA due to this being scheduled for after the time when school shut.
In addition to this, we will also be working together as a department to make sure that we arrive at the grade that best answers the question ‘what would this pupil have achieved if they had sat their exams this year’. This means that you do not need to worry if you think that your teacher does not know you very well, as they will be working in a team to support them to come to their decision.
Will the grade the school submits be the grade the exam board gives me?
The simple answer to this is ‘no’. Alongside the grade that we submit for each of your subjects, we are also being asked to provide a rank order of pupils within that grade.
Once these things have been submitted, the exam boards will put all the centre assessment grades through a process of standardisation using a model that is being developed for this purpose.
Can I ask my teacher what grade they are submitting for me?
The simple answer to this is ‘no’. It is not allowed. The information that we have received today states that we are not allowed to share the grade or the rank order with you.
It is important that you respect this and that you refrain from questioning your teacher about your grades.
Will my results be issued in time for me to move onto my post-16 choice?
The simple answer to this is ‘yes’. We have been told that results will not be delayed and at this moment in time will still be out on results day in August.
Will my grades be as valid as other years?
The simple answer to this is ‘yes’. Your grades will be reported in the same way and will have equal status to grades awarded in other years. You will be able to use these grades to enable you to move onto the next stage in your education.
What if I don’t agree with my grades when they are released in August?
If you do not feel that your grade from the summer reflects your ability, you will have the opportunity to take the exam in the autumn series (depending on the subject) or in the summer of 2021. If you choose to do this, both grades will stand.
What about my access arrangements? How will you take these into account?
We are being asked to produce a grade that you would have most likely achieved if you had been able to sit your examinations with the intended reasonable adjustments or access arrangements in place. Remember that your teachers are well placed to do this.
What about BTECs?
It is important to note that we have only been told about GCSE qualifications at this point in time, and are yet to hear about BTEC qualifications. As soon as we have further information on those, we will be in touch with you.
What should I do if I have any questions about my post-16 choices?
In the first instance, please make sure that you are part of the CEIAG Careers classroom. Following on from this, remember that Mrs Parkinson and Mrs Fiddler are also available should you have any specific questions about this.
I do realise that although this answers some of your questions, you may have other questions that we do not yet have answers to. As soon as we know more, we will let you know.
Learning is defined as ‘the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught’. It is something that does not just happen within a school building, or with a teacher directly in front of us, so the activities that are being set for you at this point in time are really important to your learning and really important to help you to develop the independence that is required for learning as you move forwards in life. I encourage you to continue to study, continue to learn, continue to read and commit to wanting to find out more and understanding how you do this best. This will be of great value to you in the future.
I understand that these are uncertain times for you in many different ways and that you may be concerned about your post-16 pathways and your progression to these. May I remind you that we are still here to support you and will continue to be over the next few weeks and months.
I do hope that you have time over this holiday period to rest and recharge and to re-connect with family and friends, albeit from home. Remember to heed the government’s advice: Stay home, Stay Safe and Save Lives.
With my warmest of wishes
Mrs R Smith