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The Awarding of GCSEs, AS and A levels

FAQs Exams
Thank you for all the great questions that have been coming in. As promised, here are some general responses to some of the more frequently asked questions:

  1. How will centre assessed grades be decided?
The government have provided this guidance for our teachers:
Teachers should draw on existing records and available evidence (as far as possible in the context of current public health advice). It is important that the judgements are objective, and they should only take account of evidence about student performance.
This will include the following, where it is available.
  • records of each student’s performance over the course of study, including for example progress review data, classwork, bookwork, and/or participation in performances in subjects such as music, drama and PE
  • performance on any non-exam assessment (NEA), even if this has not been fully completed. You should not ask students to complete their NEA work and you do not need to submit marks for any completed NEA. But you will need to bear in mind that many students achieve a higher grade on their NEA than in their exams, so you should not base your judgment on NEA alone. You should balance it with your judgement about their likely performance in the written paper(s), where appropriate. In case students decide that they want to enter in a subsequent exam series, you should retain any NEA work completed to date
  • performance on any class or homework assessments and mock exams taken over the course of study
  • previous results in your centre in this subject – these will vary according to a number of factors, including prior attainment of the students, but our data shows that for most centres any year-on-year variation in results for a given subject is normally quite small
  • the performance of this year’s students compared to those in previous years
  • any other relevant information
Specifically in relation to mock exams, these will form part of a holistic assessment of what your teachers believe you were most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned.

  1. What does the ranking order of students mean and how could it affect our grades?
The simple answer is that this process isn’t clear as yet.
However, this is how I think it will work. The exam boards will take all of the grades submitted and apply statistical modelling to ensure that the national picture looks right. That should allow them to see centres that have been stingy / generous and then push those students up / down. I think this is where the ranking would come in. If the centre had been 50% too stingy then the top 50% in each grade would get moved up to the next grade.
Essentially, if we get our grading right (which I am confident we will) the ranking shouldn’t have very much impact at all.

  1. Will students be able to continue to study if they want to? Some students want to be prepared for potential resits or be in a good position for progressing to university.
The guidance is very clear about not requiring any further work and that centre assessed grades are to be made based on the work up to this point. I think we would get into a very messy situation if we were to still be trying to force all students to engage.
However, I am sure that subject areas will want to provide more learning for our students once we get back after Easter. We need a bit of time to work out what this will be so please look out for further updates.
All students who choose to resit in the autumn or next summer will be supported by the college. Again, we haven’t got details about how these resits will work at this stage but we will provide information when we get it.

  1. Will there be an A level results day? End of year celebrations? Sports Pres?
We don’t have details about how the A level grades will be awarded, or exactly when, so we will have to wait for details about a results day.
We do very much hope to hold a ‘graduation’ for all of our leavers this year so you can all come in and say good bye properly. Mark Lucid is also very keen to hold Sports Pres. Clearly these events will depend on how the response to COVID-19 develops but we don’t want you time at college to end like this.

  1. Do we still need to complete our Art examined piece?
Art students do not need to keep working on their final projects as far as their centre assessed grade is concerned. Your teacher will use all of the work you have done so far, and the trajectory that your examined piece was on, as evidence for the grade we will submit to the exam board. You are, of course, welcome to finish off the work. I would think it would be a good thing for your portfolio going forwards.

  1. Will work completed after school closure on March 20th count? Should I still try to submit work e.g. mock exams I completed at home as I missed the original sitting due to illness?
Here is the statement from the guidance:
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. Where additional work has been completed after schools and colleges were closed on 20 March, Heads of Centre should exercise caution where that evidence suggests a change in performance. In many cases this is likely to reflect the circumstances and context in which the work is done.
So, there is no requirement to submit any extra work but do check with your subject area if you are unsure.

  1. Requests for indications about grading
Given that we have been explicitly told not to share grading information with students I am afraid that we will not be feeding back the grades from the recent mock exams.
You can refer to grades achieved in previous work and mock examinations, UCAS predicted grades and the RAG gradings we have given through the year for an indication of the sort of grade we would expect to submit.

  1. Will the grades I need for my first choice university be taken into account?
For example I need 3 A’s for my firmed university so will teachers be aware of this and include it as well or is this irrelevant?
Your teachers won’t take that into account. We will be making the centre assessed grades using the evidence listed in the answer to question 1. However, we will be aiming to give the most positive but fair grade. So, if your work has been good and you were working hard towards the end, there is a good chance you will be awarded the good grades you need for your university offers. Also, I expect that universities will be especially lenient around their offers this year given the circumstances.

  1. EPQ clarification
The centre assessed grading process will apply to all EPQ students. So, your project will not be assessed as normal. Having said that, if you have finished, your supervisor will be very confident about the grade they can submit for you. Also, if you are not happy with the final outcome, there will be the opportunity to resubmit the work in the autumn.

  1. With regards to things like free prescriptions and council tax, when will we actually be classed as no longer in full-time education?
At Wyke we count students as being with us until 31st August of the year that they complete. That is still the case this year.
Here is the link to the governments FAQs again:

I hope that is all of some help and please do keep the questions coming,
Look after yourselves,
Principal Paul Britton