GCSEs and A-levels: key questions after the U-Turn

Now we know Centre Assessed Grades will be used, what questions need to be answered?

Grainne Hallahan

Union Learning Fund: The government must U-turn

It has been announced that A-level and GCSE students will receive their Centre Assessed Grade (CAG) if they had been 'downgraded' by the statistical model used by the exam boards.

But what does this mean for teachers and schools?

We look at the most pressing questions that will need answers in light of the change of guidance.

Questions for GCSEs

1. Will students be able to appeal if they feel their CAG doesn't reflect their capability?

2. How will we unpick the discrepancies between schools where CAGs were calculated modestly, and schools where CAGs were more optimistic?

3. We know CAGs had a bulge at grade 4, so will there be more students who should be resitting English or maths, and are now on FE courses beyond their current capability?

5. What support will schools and colleges need to put in place for students who have aspirational grades and are now potentially going to struggle in their chosen courses?

6. Will the autumn exam series still go ahead?

7. Will students with higher mock grades than their CAG be able to appeal?

8. How will this impact how parents and students view the fairness of grades, and a teacher or school's responsibility for lower-than-wished for grades?

9. What are the long-term impacts of this change to future cohorts, particularly the students who will be Year 11 from September? 

10. How will this change impact the GCSE examination system for the next cohort, considering they missed a large proportion of their exam course? 

11. What does this mean for IGCSE results, which aren't regulated by Ofqual?

A-level questions

1. Will there now be an option for students to revert to their first-choice university?

2. If a student's grades have improved, is it possible to now use Ucas Adjustment to see courses on offer?

3. Will students be able to decline their accepted offer and now go through Ucas clearing?

4. Will the autumn exam series still go ahead?

5. Now we have 'grade inflation' of at least 10 per cent above what was planned, what will this mean for the cohort of 2021? Will universities ask for higher grades for 2020, and lower for 2021 to compensate?

6. In the future, is this going to change how we do mock exams?

7. Will students with higher mock grades than their CAG be able to appeal?

8. Will the cap be lifted for universities?

9. What will the process look like for BTEC appeals?



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Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan

Grainne Hallahan is Tes recruitment editor and senior content writer at Tes

Find me on Twitter @heymrshallahan

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