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A-level and AS level results day is today while GCSE results day is on Thursday

Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their A-level and GCSE results this week after exams were cancelled for the second year in a row because of Covid.

Students will be given grades determined by teachers, rather than exams, with pupils only assessed on what they have been taught during the pandemic.

A-level and AS level results day is today while GCSE results day is on Thursday.

Pupils have been advised to check with their school or college whether they are still required to pick up their results in person in the morning, or whether they will be sent out by email or post instead. Here we look at some of the questions that students and parents might be asking: 

How have the grades been decided this year?

All four nations – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – adopted a system of awarding grades this summer based on teacher based assessment.

Teachers in England have been required to consider a range of evidence, including mock exams, coursework, and in-class assessments using questions by exam boards, to make decisions on pupils’ grades.

Headteachers had to submit a personal declaration that they believed grades to be accurate.

Schools and colleges were asked to provide samples of student work to exam boards, as well as evidence used to determine the grades for the students selected, as part of quality assurance (QA) checks.

Second year students studying textiles and surface design work during a session at the University of Bolton in Bolton, northwest England, on March 11, 2021 after students on practical courses started returning to their studies on campus as the coronavirus lockdown was eased. - University students on practical courses like art and design were allowed to return to their studies on campus from March 8 as part of step one of the government's roadmap for easing the coronavirus lockdown in England. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
No algorithm will be used to moderate teachers’ grades (Picture: Getty)

Random and targeted sample checks of evidence were also carried out after grades were submitted.

In some cases, where the evidence did not support the grades submitted, schools and colleges have been asked to review their grades.

Last summer, the fiasco around grading led to thousands of A-level students having their results downgraded from school estimates by a controversial algorithm, before Ofqual announced a U-turn.

But this year, no algorithm will be used to moderate teachers’ grades.

What should students do if they are unhappy with their grades?

Pupils in England who want to appeal against their grade must first request that their school or college reviews whether an administrative or procedural error was made.

Each school or college will set their own deadlines by which students must ask them to review a grade.

If the school or college rules no error was made, then students can escalate the appeal to the exam boards, which their school or college is expected to submit on their behalf. 

In England, the deadline to send an appeal to the exam board is September 17.

There is an earlier deadline of August 23 for priority appeals, for example, if a student has not got their first choice of university place confirmed.

Year 11 students, wearing face coverings, take part in a GCSE maths class at Park Lane Academy in Halifax, northwest England on March 8, 2021 as schools reopen following the easing of lockdown restrictions. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
The deadline to send an appeal to the exam board is September 17 (Picture: PA)

Can students sit an exam if they do not like their results?

Students in England who are unhappy with their A-level or GCSE grades will have the opportunity to take exams in the autumn.

AS and A-level exams will be held in October, while GCSE exams will take place in November and December.

The higher grade will count for applicants who wish to take an autumn exam. By Kate Clifton, Metro

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