Cancelled Exam Results

Exam results 2020 - framework and process

As you may know - due to coronavirus, (COVID-19) and school closure's, this year’s summer exam series, including A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications, and all primary assessments, have been cancelled.

Details of the Government's approach can be found here or via the individual links listed below:

1. Did exams and assessments need to be cancelled?

2. What will happen to those who have already done some non-exam assessment?

3. How will you ensure that certain groups of students (for example those from disadvantaged backgrounds) do not lose out because of bias in teachers’ assessments?

4. Will A level students get the predicted grades that were used for university applications?

5. Will schools be using mock exam results as a barometer for centre assessment grades results – and is this fair on students as they did not know at the time these would be used as their final mark?

6. Will the past performance of the school be taken into account when devising the calculated grade?

7. Is this an entirely new system?

8. When will students get their results?

9. Will universities, colleges and sixth forms accept these grades?

10. What if students are unhappy with their calculated grade?

11. What about private candidates or home educated students?

12. Can private centres run GCSEs, AS levels or A levels if they choose to do so?

13. Does this mean that every exam in every module in every subject has been cancelled, or will a limited number go ahead at GCSE and/or A level?

14. What about vocational and technical qualifications?

15. Will students be required to do further work to contribute towards their grade?

16. Can schools and colleges take incomplete coursework into account?

17. What will young people with university offers do?

18. Do universities need to start making unconditional offers / should students accept an unconditional offer now that exams are cancelled?

19. If students already have an unconditional offer, does that remain?

20. If students take the exam option, will they still be able to go to university this year?

21. Are iGCSEs and the International Baccalaureate also cancelled?

22. How will colleges, sixth-forms and universities cope with the fact that these students will have missed out on some of their education?


The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled.

  • Ofqual is developing a process through which to provide a calculated grade to each student.

  • The process will aim to reflect the student’s performance as fairly as possible.

  • Ofqual will work with the exam boards to ensure the process is consistently applied for all students.

Exam boards will ask teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead. Teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment – clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.

Before an approach is finalised Ofqual and exam boards will ensure the approach is as fair as possible through discussions with teachers’ representatives.

  • We aim to provide calculated grades to students before the end of July.

  • As a permanent record, the grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years.

  • We aim to ensure that the distribution of grades follows a similar pattern to that in other years.

  • If a student feels the correct process hasn’t been followed in their particular case they will be able to appeal.

  • If they feel the grade that they are awarded doesn’t reflect their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam once schools are open again.

  • Students will have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.

  • The Government will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for 2020.

In the case of vocational, technical and other academic qualifications that have exams, the governing organisations are being encouraged to be flexible and pragmatic to ensure students are not disadvantaged.

University representatives have advised that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.

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