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A-levels 2020: When are results published, how do grades work? Norfolk student questions answered

PUBLISHED: 12:47 10 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:25 10 August 2020

The ritual of picking up A-level results from school is being replaced this year with emails to students. Picture: PA Images

The ritual of picking up A-level results from school is being replaced this year with emails to students. Picture: PA Images

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Schools and colleges across Norfolk are preparing for an unusual set of A-level results.

A-level results will be based on predicted outcomes with students unable to sit exams. Picture: Getty ImagesA-level results will be based on predicted outcomes with students unable to sit exams. Picture: Getty Images

Collecting results is a major milestone in a young person’s life, as it can be the launchpad for university or the beginning of a career.

However, the coronavirus pandemic means almost all students will be receiving their results remotely missing out on the ritual picking up that dreaded envelope at school with friends and classmates.

Ofqual has said A and As-level grades will be based on teacher assessment of classroom work, mock exams and extra curricular work. Picture: Getty ImagesOfqual has said A and As-level grades will be based on teacher assessment of classroom work, mock exams and extra curricular work. Picture: Getty Images

And having not sat exams their grades have been predicted, the fate of student’s futures with university places at stake has been in the hands of teachers.

However, due to coronavirus there are still many questions students and parents may have about this year’s results day.

When and how will A-level results come out?

The A-level results day is Thursday, August 13. However, the usual celebrations or commiserations as envelopes are nervously opened with friends at schools or colleges will not be the case this time around.

Students will be receiving their results via email from about 8am. UCAS tracker system receives A-level results directly. It is expected to be updated from 8am but will be busy with students keen to find out if they’ve received offers, so you’ll need to be patient.

How have grades been determined?

With no exams having been sat, students have been given formal grades that fairly reflect the work they’ve put in, with these based on previous performance, including GCSEs and mock exams. Non-exam assessment such as coursework will also be taken into account, along with the grade they expected you to have achieved should exams have gone ahead.

The grades that each school and college have submitted for their students will be checked nationally to ensure they are fair and comparable to other years.

Will grades be seen as the same value as those from previous years?

Yes. The national regulator of qualifications, Ofqual, has been very clear in telling universities and colleges that this year’s grades must be viewed in the same way as those from any other year. This is supported by the thorough processes that have been put in place, which will draw on a wide amount of evidence in determining this year’s grades.

Will students be able to challenge their grades if I don’t agree with them?

Schools and colleges can appeal to the exam board if it believes it made an error when submitting a grade or if it believes an exam board made a mistake.

Pupils can ask their school or college to check whether it made an administrative error when submitting their grade - and they can ask them to submit an appeal to the exam board if it did.

However students will not be able to directly appeal their calculated grades to the exam boards, but they can submit allegations about bias or discrimination.

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What can students do if they are still unhappy?

Ofqual has advised students to complain to their college or school in the first place about potential malpractice. If their concerns are not addressed, pupils can formally complain to the exam board.

Will the estimated grades affect university places?

The national regulator of qualifications, Ofqual, has been very clear in telling universities and higher education colleges that this year’s grades must be viewed in the same way as those from any other year.

What happens if the A-level grades are less than needed for university?

As in any normal year, UCAS will be running its clearing process to help match applicants with a suitable higher education place. You can find full details on the clearing process, and start your clearing applications, on the UCAS website

Will universities change the offer they have given?

No. The offer students have been given should remain unchanged. However, tell the university and ask if they are willing to hold the place for you (if possible, get it in writing). It is possible they may still accept you this year with lower grades.

Can you sit an exam if you are not happy with your grades?

For those who feel that these grades don’t accurately reflect your performance, there will be an opportunity to take exams in October (deadline for registering is September 4). Those choosing to do this will not have to worry about getting lower than their predicted grade as the highest of the two will be their final result. However, according to Universities UK, if you so decide to take your exams, in most cases it will be too late to start a university course in 2020/21 (unless the course starts in January).

What if students get better than predicted grades?

Those that exceed the conditions of the firm university place offer could look for an alternative course and you can do this through UCAS’s adjustment service. Adjustment is avail;able from August 13-31.

What help is on offer?

Norfolk County Council’s Help You Choose has careers information, advice and opportunities for a range of courses available post A-levels, degrees, foundation degrees, HNDs, apprenticeships and other courses at the same level. Call the helpline on 0344 800 8022 to speak to an advisor (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm).

The National Careers Service 0800 100900 will be open from August 12 (daily 8am-10pm) offering free impartial advice.


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