One Year A Level Retakes
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A level 2021 FAQs- Assessment, Results and Appeals

The full guidance from the JCQ for parents and students is available here-

How will A levels be assessed in 2021?

Teachers have been tasked with deciding how their pupils will be graded. The government has said teachers will use a “range of evidence”, including mock exam results, coursework, or other work completed as part of a pupil’s course, “such as essays or in-class” tests to arrive at their judgments. Teachers will have flexibility on whether and how they use the optional questions set by exam boards.

How will the grading standards be set?

Teachers will consider each student’s performance using the sources of evidence they are using for their cohort. They will make an evidence-based judgement of the grade each student is performing at. You'll only be assessed on topics you've been taught.

What about Art subjects?

For A Levels in art subjects such as Fine Art, Photography, Graphic Design and Textiles, which are 100% non-exam, students’ grades will be based on their portfolio only. Ofqual says that "students should not be penalised if, due to circumstances beyond their control, they were unable to complete their portfolio".

Will students and parents be informed of their grades before they are issued?

No. This is forbidden. Schools are though expected to share with students details of the evidence they will use in arriving at the teacher assessed grade.

Could the exam boards change the grades teachers predict?

There will be a quality assurance process whereby teacher predictions will be checked. Exam boards will target their quality assurance based on a number of factors, including where a centre’s results are considerably lower or higher than recent years. Unlike last year though there will be no algorithm used to moderate teacher judgement, mutant or otherwise.

Can a student appeal an A level result this summer?

There will again be some limited opportunity for appeals this summer, with students unhappy with their final grade(s) ultimately encouraged to take A level and GCSE examinations in the autumn if they do not feel the teacher awarded grades reflect their true potential.

Before grades are submitted teachers will have made students aware of the evidence that has been used in assessing them, giving students at this early stage the opportunity to raise concerns.

Once you've received your grade on Tuesday August 10th this year there is the opportunity to appeal to your school- the Stage 1 Centre Review. This will be a check that all of their processes were followed correctly and no errors were made. If your school finds an error, they can submit a revised grade to the exam board. Your school will not be assessing whether the teacher’s judgement of your grade was correct - they’ll be looking only at any possible administrative errors and checking that the centre's policy has been followed. You'll be advised by your school that that your grade could go down, up or stay the same as a result of the appeal.

If you are still unhappy Stage 2 involves an appeal to the awarding organisation- the exam boards. This is submitted by the centre on the student’s behalf. An appeal should be submitted if the student considers that the centre did not follow its procedure properly, the awarding organisation has made an administrative error, or the student considers that the grade awarded was an unreasonable exercise of academic judgement in the choice of evidence from which to determine the grade and/or the determination of the grade from that evidence. Again you'll be advised that your grade could go up, down or remain the same.

In cases of disagreement between the centre and the exam board, or if the student disagrees with the centre or the exam board, the case can be referred to Ofqual’s Exams Procedure Review Service (EPRS).

Ofqual advise: "Appeals are not likely to lead to adjustments in grades where the original grade is a reasonable exercise of academic judgement supported by the evidence."

As in 2020 students will have the opportunity to sit exams in the autumn if they are unhappy with their teacher assessed grade.

What happens to my university place if I am appealing?

Exam boards will support schools and colleges in prioritising appeals where their outcome will determine a student’s ability to progress to their next stage of education, e.g if you are holding university offers.

The best thing to do is contact your university or college as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

What is the time scale for appealing my A level results?

10 August to 7 September: priority appeals window

  • 10 August to 16 August: student requests centre review
  • 10 August to 20 August: centre conducts centre review
  • 11 August to 23 August: centre submits appeal to exam board

10 August to end October: majority of non-priority appeals take place

  • 10 August to 3 September: student requests centre review
  • 10 August to 10 September: centre conducts centre review
  • 11 August to 17 September: centre submits appeal to exam board

Will UK universities accept the August results based on predicted/final grades?


What about retaking my exams?

As in October 2021 the government has directed Ofqual to make available an autumn exam series for students unhappy with their teacher assessed grades. Students can also of course opt to take their exams in May/June 2022.

The most up to date guidance on exams in 2021 is available from Ofqual:

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