GCSE results day is just around the corner, with pupils waiting in anticipation to see what grades they have received.
A Level students received their grades on 10 August, with the number of A or A* grades awarded soaring to record highs, after exams were cancelled for a second consecutive year due to Covid-19.
But will GCSE students have the same success? This is what you need to know about GCSE results day in 2021.
When will GCSE results day take place this year?
GCSE pupils will receive their results on 12 August 2021, which is two days after A-level students. Grades are usually available from 8am.
Results day is a little earlier than usual this year in order to give A-Level pupils more time to appeal their results ahead of university admissions.
This year, pupils will once again be able to pick up their results in person from their school, after it was prevented last year due to the Covid pandemic, but some schools may also choose to send results digitally or by post.
How will GCSEs be graded this year?
Students did not sit GCSE exams this year due to the disruption to education they’ve faced since the beginning of the pandemic.
Instead, GCSE pupils will get grades based on their teachers’ assessments of them.
Cath Jadhav, Director of Standards and Comparability at the exams, assessments and qualifications regulator Ofqual, explained that in summer 2021, “teachers will judge the standard that a student is working at, based on a range of evidence produced by that student over their course of study, and covering only the content they have been taught”.
Teachers will make the initial judgements and these will then be subject to internal quality assurance within the school.
Grades will be signed off by the head of department and head of centre, which is usually the headteacher or principal, before they are then submitted to exam boards.
Ms Jadhav said: “In simple terms, a GCSE student who is performing consistently at a grade 6 standard, should be awarded a grade 6. It should be no harder or easier to achieve a particular grade than it is in a normal year when examinations take place”.
What evidence will be included?
Teachers will base their judgement on students’ performance on a range of evidence. This could include mock exams, coursework and other assessments done in class. Students will only be assessed on content that they have been taught.
Teachers have been asked to take an evidence-based approach, so that students, their parents and carers, and all those who use the grades awarded this summer can see how their final grade has been arrived at - and know that they have been determined objectively.
Students will have been told by their school what evidence is going to be used in order to determine their grades.
How do I appeal my grade?
If a pupil thinks an error has been made in their grade, an appeals system will be in place.
In the first instance, if a pupil thinks a grade is incorrect when they first receive their results, they should speak to their school and request a centre review. This is an internal review by a school so they can check for any errors.
If a pupil still thinks their grade is incorrect after their school has checked it, they can ask their school to appeal to the exam board.
However, pupils should be aware that on appeal, grades could go up, down, or stay the same and the exam board’s decision will be final.