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Students: Assessments

Question for Department for Education

UIN 35799, tabled on 19 July 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support students who do not receive the grades that they expected in August 2021, in particular students who do not meet their offers for college, university and apprenticeships.

Answered on

23 July 2021

Students should feel confident in their grades this year. Teachers have been able to choose from a range of evidence and students have only been assessed on what they have been taught.

Students should also have been able to see the evidence their teacher planned to submit for them, allowing any errors or circumstances relating to particular pieces of evidence to be taken into account in advance of grade submission.

Teachers have also received support and guidance on the assessment process this year, and examination boards have shared grade descriptors. The process has been subject to multiple internal and external quality assurance checks. This should allow students to feel assured that the process has been applied as fairly and consistently as possible.

Teacher assessed grade results will be issued on the 10 August for A levels and 12 August for GCSEs. While we hope all students receive the grades they need to progress, any student who does feel disappointed with their results will have options open to them.

The Department encourages students to talk to their school or college, and to their prospective college, university, or employer to discuss available options. The National Careers Service will also be running an examination results helpline.

Students who want to improve on their teacher assessed grade may want to consider entering autumn examinations. Examination boards will offer autumn examinations in all GCSE and A level subjects, and in mathematics and science AS level subjects. These examinations will take place over October, November and December.

There will also be an appeals system, which can be used in exceptional circumstances to correct oversights and errors not identified during earlier parts of the process. An appeal will only be successful if either an error is found, or the grade awarded or the selection of evidence is found to be unreasonable. Students’ grades could go up, down or stay the same on appeal, therefore students should carefully consider whether appealing is the right course of action for them.

With regard to examinations in 2022, we recognise that pupils taking examinations next year have faced significant disruption to their education. The Department has launched a joint consultation with Ofqual to seek views on proposed changes to examinations in summer 2022, in light of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on pupils entering these qualifications.

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