How are GCSE results now calculated in 2020?

Parents guide – How GCSE results will be calculated due to Covid-19

Students this year face a nervous wait for their GCSE’S results this year after exams were cancelled. Coronavirus forced schools across the country to shut, with schools only expecting to reopen in September- leaving pupils worrying about how they will be graded for their year in secondary school.

However, students will still get GCSE results this year. Teachers will use previous homework, mock exams, and coursework to give students GCSE grades this year rather than a formal assessment.

Here we offer some information on the new grading system, and what your options are if students feel unhappy with their grades.

The new GCSE’s

Back in the day, GCSE’S used to be graded by letter, from A* to U.
They are now graded by 9-1 (highest to lowest), with U grades for marks that were too low to be classified.

For parents or carers who might not know:

  • An A* is in the middle of new grades 8 and 9
  • An A is a 7
  • A C is a 4


How are GCSE Grades now calculated?
Due to COVID-19, students were unable to take their exams this year. Despite this, students will still get GCSE results based on predicted grades.

Predicted grades will be based on a range of factors including (for example) homework assessments and mock exams. Schools and colleges are asked to use fair judgement based on professional experience to outline the grades they believe a student would have achieved if they had sat their exams this year.

To keep grades fair across all schools and colleges, the exam boards put all centre assessment grades through a standardisation process using a system develop with the independent qualifications regulator Ofqual. What does that mean? It means that Ofqual has provided clear guidance to all schools and college on how to assign GCSE grades fairly and using the same grading methods.

Once schools and colleges have done this, the Heads of Centre have to sign a declaration to say that the centre assessment grades are fair, then check the data to make sure it’s accurate, then they submit the grades to the exam board.

When students get their GCSE grades, these are the final grades that have been produced by the exam boards based on the centre assessment grades that have been submitted to them.

What can students do if they are unhappy with their grades?

It is understandable that some students feel that the new marking system is unfair, as many hoped to raise their grades by sitting the exams. But all is not lost.
If you really don’t think that GCSE grade was a good match for your ability, you will have the opportunity to take resit the exams in the autumn . If you choose to do this, you can use the higher of the two grades as your final, official GCSE grade.

As a student, you can take exams in as few subjects as you like – if it’s just one GCSE grade you don’t think feels fair, you can choose to take exams for just that subject, not all your GCSEs. You will have to take all the exam papers for any subject you decide to sit exams for in autumn, though.

Students who are unhappy with their grades can also contact Ofqual, the regulator for the exam boards.

It’s a bit early to say for absolutely certain, but it’s currently expected that students who decide to sit their exams in e.g. November would get their GCSE grades for February, and the results for GCSE English and maths would come through in January. It all depends on when exactly the autumn exams would take place.

When is results day?

GCSE’s results day is the 20 th August, as originally planned. The good news is that it will allow students time to decide whether they wish to sit exams in the autumn, and to prepare for those exams if necessary.

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