Results Day 2021: What to Expect

Results day is almost upon us. Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their A-level results tomorrow. Meanwhile, GCSE grades will be released on Thursday 12 August. But what marks can teenagers expect this week? And can they appeal them if they are unhappy? 

Teacher allocated grades

Because of Covid-19, pupils did not sit public examinations this year. Instead, teachers have determined their GCSE and A Level grades, based on a combination of coursework, mock exams and school essays. Unlike last year, no algorithm will be used – to the widespread relief of schools and parents.  

Schools had to submit grades to exam boards by 18 June, meaning there was as much teaching time as possible before teachers made their assessments. However, it is inevitable that some pupils will be unhappy with their teacher allocated marks.

Can I appeal my grades?

In a situation where you think your child has been given the wrong grade, the first step is to ask their school or college to check whether they have made a mistake. If that is the case, a new grade can be sent to the exam board, which will decide what to do.

If the school insists that the grade is correct, however, things get more complicated. Parents and students cannot submit a request for a review directly to the exam board. Your school or college has to do this for you. The exam board will then review the mark. Be warned, however: any new grade could be higher or lower than the one given on results day.

In England, the deadline to send an appeal to the exam board is 17 September. However, there is an earlier deadline of 23 August for priority appeals – for example, if your child has missed their first choice university because of their results. 

What next? 

If you are unhappy with the result of the exam board appeal, your next port of call is the Exam Procedures Review Service. This is Ofqual’s service for reviewing the decisions made by exam boards on appeals against GCSE, AS, A level and some vocational or technical qualifications results.

The Exam Procedures Review Service cannot review your child’s work or change  their grade. However, they can ask the exam board to look at your appeal again if they think the exam board made a mistake.

Time is of the essence, here. If you think the exam board made a mistake you should apply as soon as possible after you get a final appeal decision. If you wait more than 3 weeks after the decision arrives, you will explain why there was a delay, and the review service might not accept your application.

According to their website, it you want to apply you must email the public enquiries team at public.enquiries@ofqual.gov.uk. The subject line of your email should say ‘EPRS application’.

Resits

No teenager awaiting their exam results wants to hear the word ‘resit’. However, for students who are unhappy this results day, resits are likely to be available. While much depends on the Covid-19, the chief regulator of Ofqual stressed in February that students should have the opportunity to sit an exam if they wish to improve their teacher assessed grade. 

‘The government’s policy is, therefore, that there needs to be a full series of GCSE, AS and A level examinations held in the autumn and I expect Ofqual to make provision for this,’ he said. 

If you think your child would benefit from some one-to-one help ahead of their resits, you can request a free Hampstead and Frognal Tutors consultation here.

Don’t panic

Results day this year will be far from typical. However, all students are in the same boat and there are a variety of ways for teenagers to challenge or improve their grades. Stay calm, look at your options – and good luck!

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