13 August 2020

Exams & Appeals Information 2020

Updated Thursday 20th August


Can I make an appeal? (this is the latest guidance we have - 20th August)

Even if your results aren’t what you were hoping for, you might still be able to move on to the next stage of your education or employment as you had planned.

It is important to remember that:

1. You can ask school to check whether it made an administrative error when submitting information to the exam board. Administrative errors might include, for example, mixing up 2 students with similar names, or accidentally copying across the wrong data, but do not relate to the professional judgements of centres in assigning CAGs. If school finds it made a mistake in the information it provided it can ask the exam board to correct it.

2. School can appeal to the exam board on your behalf if it believes the exam board made a mistake when it communicated your grades.

3. You cannot challenge the school under the appeals process on the centre assessment grades it submitted or your rank order positions. Any appeal would have to be undertaken by someone better placed than your teachers to judge your likely grade if exams had taken place. In the unique circumstances of this summer, Ofqual have determined that there is no such person.

4. You cannot appeal because your mock result was higher than the grade you were awarded. Your mock grade will have been taken into account in determining your centre assessment grade. You will either receive your centre assessment grade or your calculated grade (whichever is higher). The government stated last week that mock grades could be used, but now that CAGs are being awarded, this is no longer an option.


Updated Wednesday 18th August

We have now heard the government's announcement to award centre-assessed grades (CAGs) for this year's A Levels and GCSEs. On Thursday, Year 11 students will therefore receive these grades for their GCSEs, rather than any grade generated by Ofqual. For A Level students, if the standardised grade you were awarded is higher than your CAG, this will still stand.

As a result, there will be mixed feelings, including a sense of relief about a clearer way forward. There will still be concerns about the consequences for some A Level students – such as those who have already missed out on university places - and from what we know so far we would urge you to contact universities directly to discuss what this means for your courses.

Where students have studied BTECs (vocational qualifications) results have seemed largely stable. From what Ofqual has said so far: "a move away from a statistical standardisation approach towards using CAGs alone would have limited impact as it would not change the results for the vast majority." Hopefully we will have some more clarity about this for Year 11 before Thursday, but it seems to be that BTEC results will not be replaced with CAGs at this stage.



Updated Monday 17th August

We understand that Y13 and Y11 students and parents will be very worried and frustrated at the lack of clarity surrounding grades and appeals this year.

We would like to reassure you that we are fully committed to supporting you as best we can and ensuring you have the right outcomes.

At present, we still do not know how the appeals system will work with regard to mock grades/the government 'triple lock'. Ofqual issued guidance at 3pm on Saturday which was then withdrawn at 10pm that night. Schools are not any further ahead than the general public are in terms of guidance or advice.

To clarify (what we do know):

  • We cannot, unfortunately, change centre assessed grades at this stage (CAGs). Students cannot 'swap' their exam grade for their CAG (as happened in Scotland)
  • Students cannot appeal to the exam board about changes directly. Where we feel students have been downgraded unfairly (eg as has been the case in A Level Biology and Chemistry this year) we will appeal on their behalf.

We will keep you updated when we know more.



Updated 13th August  

Many parents and students are still uncertain about this year’s appeals process, which is, we admit, very confusing. The government announced a last minute ‘triple lock’ on Wednesday which means that Year 13 and Year 11 students can:  

  • accept their standardised grade from the exam board; or 

  • appeal to receive a valid mock result; or 

  • sit autumn exams / re-sits 

At present, students cannot appeal to accept their teacher / centre-assessed grade (CAG) instead of their standardised exam board grade.  

As a school, we can potentially submit an appeal for a whole cohort or subject if we feel that that there are sufficient grounds to prove that we were expecting results this year to show a very different pattern of grades to results in previous years. So, for example, we are currently considering appeals against the exam board standardised grades for A Level Chemistry and Biology, as they have been significantly downgraded based on our teacher/centre submitted grades. 

Mock grade appeals 

The Department for Education have stated that students wanting to make their mock A-level or GCSE grades official (instead of the exam board standardised grade) will first have to get their school to appeal against results handed out by exam boards. The mock exam will have to meet a definition of a "valid" mock, which is to be set by exams regulator Ofqual, and the school will be required to submit evidence to the exam board to show the mock was a valid attempt. The government has not outlined how the appeal will take place or how long it will take.

Ofqual has said the "standards of evidence" required for successful appeals based on mock results will not be released until next week. At this stage, we are therefore unfortunately unable to provide any further advice about how this will work. We are currently considering an appeal on this basis for some students in A Level Maths. 

Please go to our Exams information page here for more detailed information https://longbenton.org.uk/students/exams/covid-19-information-for-candidates