Exam Guidance from Ofqual for Summer 2020

Summary document for pupils, parents and carers.

The Full document for teachers, pupils, parents and carers is  available here:


Key points

  • This information is relevant to all students and exam centres in England using the following qualifications regulated by Ofqual and offered by AQA, OCR, Pearson, WJEC Eduqas, ASDAN and City & Guilds.
  • GCSEs
  • AS and A levels
  • Extended Project Qualifications (EPQ)
  • Advanced Extension Awards (AEA) in maths
  • Many students will be taking other general and vocational or technical qualifications instead of or alongside GCSEs, AS and A levels. While this process does not apply to those qualifications, the same aims apply. We are working urgently to develop an approach and we will provide further information as soon as possible.
  • DfE are asking schools and colleges to use their professional experience to make a fair and objective judgement of the grade they believe a student would have achieved had they sat their exams this year
  • We will use the full range of available evidence when we grade students – including non-exam assessment; the results of any homework assignments or mock exams; and any other records of student performance over the course of study.
  • We are also being asked  to provide a rank order of students within each grade. This is because the statistical standardisation process will need more granular information than the grade alone
  • Exam boards will provide detailed instructions to schools and colleges on when and how to submit centre assessment grades after Easter. The deadline will not be earlier than 29 May 2020and centres will have a window of at least two weeks in which to submit the data.
  • There is no requirement to set additional mock exams or homework tasks for the purposes of determining a centre assessment grade, and no student should be disadvantaged if they are unable to complete any work set after schools were closed.
  • In some subjects students will have completed, or nearly completed, non-exam assessment. This will be helpful to schools and colleges in deciding each student’s grade and rank order. Schools and colleges do not need to ask students to complete any unfinished non-exam assessment work for the purposes of grading, but it may help in supporting the grading process.
  • schools and colleges do not need to submit any supporting evidence, such as student work, to exam boards, but they should retain records of this in case exam boards have any queries about the data.
  • Exam boards will standardise the judgements once grades have been submitted through a process of standardisation using a model being developed with Ofqual. Standardisation will not change the rank order of students within each centre . However, if grading judgements in some schools and colleges appear to be more severe or generous than others, exam boards will adjust the grades of some or all of those students upwards or downwards accordingly. As with other years, the statistical model will consider prior attainment at school or college level, not at individual student level. As such, students’ individual performance will not be predetermined by their prior attainment at KS2 or GCSE.
  • Grades we submit will not be seen by parents/carers.  It is important schools and colleges do not share provisional grades, nor rank orders, with students or parents and carers before final results have been issued. This is to protect the integrity of the teachers’ judgements, and to avoid teachers, Heads of Department or Heads of Centre feeling under pressure to submit a grade that is not supported by the evidence.
  • Results will be out as soon as is possible. Results won’t be delayed after the dates they were expected in August and ideally will be issued a little earlier, so students can have the certainty they need.
  • The grades awarded to students will have equal status to the grades awarded in other years and should be treated in this way by universities, colleges and employers. On the results slips and certificates, grades will be reported in the same way as in previous years.
  • The normal arrangements for reviews of marking and appeals will not apply. DfE are considering what arrangements might be put in place to allow an effective appeal and will consult on proposals shortly. Students who feel that their grades from the summer do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the autumn series or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, both grades will stand.
  • Private candidates (students who they have not taught themselves, because they have been home-schooled, following distance-learning programmes or studying independently) Should be included where the Head of Centre is confident that they and their staff have seen sufficient evidence of the student’s achievement to make an objective judgment.
  • If a student has an agreed reason able adjustment Schools and colleges will judge the grade that these students would most likely have achieved if they had been able to sit their examinations with the intended reasonable adjustment or access arrangement in place.

Autumn 2020 Exams

  • DfE are developing the details of the autumn exam series and will share more information as soon as possible.