GCSE and A-level grade boundaries' publication delayed to prevent pupil panic

Concerns about the anxiety expressed by students online after the publication last year prompt action from exam boards

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Exam boards will no longer release grade boundaries online the day before candidates receive their GCSE and A-level results because of concerns about pupil welfare. 

In previous years, grade boundaries have been published 24 hours before results day to help school exam officers prepare before grades are given out.

But exam boards say this led to pupils flocking to social media and making misleading comments as they tried to predict their own grades.

Last year, pupils panicked that grade boundaries were too high – despite not being able to tell how many marks they had got on a paper from the release.

Exam boards were concerned about the anxiety being expressed by pupils on social media, so from this summer grade boundaries will be posted online on the day that pupils receive their results.

'There's already enough anxiety in the system'

But the grade boundaries will still be issued to schools and teachers one day before the results are released, so they are able to complete any administrative processes before results are given to students . 

Michael Turner, director general of the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents the UK’s seven largest exam boards, said: "We have taken this decision to stop any unnecessary student concern or anxiety the day before they receive their results."

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Lecturers, said: "We know this is going to be an exceptional year for all kinds of reasons. So there was already enough anxiety in the system. 

"We have said that what we would just like to do is focus on celebrating individual students' success, and this kind of feeds into that narrative. I think it is a good thing."

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