England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s A-level and AS-level results, and A-level equivalent technical qualifications like BTECs and Cambridge Technicals were published on Thursday morning.
Students have not taken exams because of the coronavirus epidemic and will receive marks from teachers, which have been then processed by exam boards. Pupils in Scotland received their results last week.
Experts Eddie Playfair and Catherine Sezen, senior policy managers at the Association of Colleges, have answered some of your questions and will answer more during the day. To send in a question, use the form at the bottom of this page.
How does the government’s “triple lock” affect my right to appeal against my results? Theo
The “triple lock” was only announced on Wednesday so it’s a bit early to know how much it will affect final outcomes, but it will enhance your right to appeal. We’re still waiting to hear what the definition of a mock will be, but the impact of this change should be to help those students whose calculated grades have ended up below their mock results.
Is the mock exam being used the last one that students took in January 2020? Edit Hervai
This has not been made clear yet. We know that mocks take many forms and some centres will do more than one, so schools and colleges are waiting for a definition of a mock.
What can a parent do if their child refuses to engage with finding out their results? My child’s college cannot discuss students’ results with parents. Do I have a legal right to know? - Ruth Guven, London
If your son or daughter is 18 then the college cannot share information with you unless your child agrees, as they are now classified as an adult. They should be able to tell you how results will be sent out, or whether your son or daughter can collect them from the college.
The college will be able to provide information, advice and guidance to your son or daughter to help them think about next steps. This might help as the basis of a chat with your child.
Will they allow for Level two BTec exam resits or not? Mat, Angmering
I would suggest that you talk to your school or college about BTec Level 2 resits. Technical and vocational qualifications have more assessment windows than GCSEs and A-levels. The school or college is best placed to advise you on next steps.
My daughter has been home-schooled for the last three years. How, or does, she get results? Megan, Wisbech
Your daughter might get results if the school or college that was going to enter her had sufficient evidence (course work for example) to give her a centre assessed grade. If not there will be an opportunity for your daughter to take an exam in the autumn. The school or college will have more details about that.
Can you specifically appeal one grade/subject, or will all your grades be reviewed if you appeal? Mohib, Stockport
The process is designed to apply to each subject entry separately, so potentially one or more of your grades could be the subject of an appeal.
If we’re not happy with our results, can we resit Year 13? Emma-Louise, Hackney
You need to discuss this with the college or school you attended in 2019-20 to consider the various options open to you. Simply repeating a year is not generally recommended unless there are exceptional circumstances - but of course 2020 has been pretty exceptional!
If you have the possibility of progressing to a higher level - for example university - that might be the best option, but don’t make any final decisions without getting support and advice from your college or school first.
Are there strategies in place to avoid bias against disability? Ronit, Watford
When producing centre assessment grades, centres will have predicted how a student would have performed assuming they had received all the additional support and access arrangements which they require because of a disability.
Hopefully, any mock processes would also have included that additional support and this is definitely worth discussing with your centre.
My daughter’s year group was said to be full of very high-achieving students. With the ranking process, could this work against them? Juliette, Bristol
The grading and ranking process in your daughter’s school will have aimed to make a well-informed prediction of each candidate’s likely performance. We can’t pre-judge the outcomes, but once students know their final results, they will be able to ask to see their centre assessment grades.
If they have been adjusted downwards, it could be due to a combination of factors, including the previous achievement of students and the centre. This can be the subject of an appeal - including reference to any mock grades.
How do we appeal art where we didn’t get to do our eight-week exam unit? Abigail, Reading
Your college or school will have based your centre assessment grade on a range of evidence they have about your work in art. Once you get your actual grade, you can also access your centre’s art grade and there will be an appeal process - in art as for all other subjects.
Will having “corona grades” for exams we didn’t sit undermine us when we go for jobs? Anon
The system this year was designed to make sure that the class of 2020 was not disadvantaged, and to produce outcomes which are broadly similar to previous years. So we expect the national grade profile to reflect this.
This should provide reassurance for employers, universities and colleges that this year’s grades have an equivalent value to those of previous years.
If an A-level student chooses to sit a real exam, will the universities treat those and exams taken next summer equally? Janet, Cheshire
The autumn exams are an opportunity for students entered this summer to take an exam. The grade they are awarded will have equal value and so this can inform any applications they are making to university in 2021.
The current plan is for exams next summer to go ahead as normal, with a few alterations, and they should be seen as equivalent to any other year.
What if I am not happy with how my school ranked me? Gaetan, Kent
You don’t know your ranking right now, as this is confidential. The rankings your school submitted will have reflected their rounded judgement of the relative positions of all candidates within each grade in that subject.
If you have any concerns once you’ve seen your results, do discuss them with your school and these could be the subject of an appeal or complaint.
I am a senior university lecturer and cannot understand why A-level students could not have undertaken exams electronically? Anon, Cheshire
In the future this is certainly worth exploring, but given the timeframe this year it would have been very difficult to ensure that all students would have been adequately prepared to undertake exams online. Not all students will have had appropriate equipment or spaces to undertake exams.
My son’s resits were cancelled and his school didn’t give him a predictive grade. Will universities do anything for these students or should he sit exams in October and reapply next year? - Wendy Tomlinson, Bristol
I would suggest that if your son has applied to a university that he contacts them in the first instance to discuss options. External candidates for whom centres did not have evidence to make a centre assessed grade do have the option to take the exam in the autumn.
If I appeal and it takes some time to be determined, will this mean me missing out on clearing opportunities? India, Heathfield
First of all I would suggest speaking to your school or college about making an appeal. At the same time you can continue with clearing opportunities. Universities are being understanding of this year’s exceptional circumstances.
How long does the appeal process take? - Kay Alders, Liskeard
I would suggest taking advice from your school or college before making an appeal. If you are planning to go on to university it is a good idea to contact them too. It may be that the results you have will be accepted. The final date for appeals to be lodged is in mid-September.
Appeals to exam boards incur a charge, which is reimbursed only if you succeed. Could the charge be removed this year? - Jayne Gower, Hertford
This is a good question and one you could raise with your school or college in the first instance. Check whether they think an appeal is the best approach for you. If you are planning on going to university it would be a good idea to contact them too and/or consider clearing options.
If our school has previously performed badly but we’re on track to significantly improve, what will this do to our predicted results? - Morgan, Plymouth
Results this year are based on centre-assessed grades and statistical analysis. I would suggest you review individual results, and if there are concerns there is an appeals process.
Will I have a basis to appeal if my son’s results are lower than the centre assessment, but the same as his mock results? Catriona, Thame
The best thing is for your son to speak to his school or college about an appeal if his results were not what he was expecting. They will be best placed to advise. At the same time if he has applied for a degree course, it would be a good idea to check with his university of choice and/or consider clearing opportunities.
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